Instructors & Classes
Whether you sing, play banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle or something else, there’s a class where you’ll pick up a new trick or three. Take a look at who’s teaching!
Update 6/28: Unfortunately, Jane Peppler won’t be able to join us at Picknbow this year. We are delighted that Laurelynn Dossett is available and willing to fill in.
2019 Picknbow Camp Instructors
Danny Gotham’s musical roots spread deep and broad, a master flatpicking and fingerpicking instrumentalist, cutting his musical teeth playing in various rock, jazz, blues, bluegrass and country bands. In 1980, Gotham took Second Place in the prestigious National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship in Winfield, KS. His musical collaborations include accompanist to the great folksinger Tom Paxton and original "Prairie Home Companion" music director, Peter Ostroushko. As a teacher, he has maintained an extensive private student roster, and, since 1974, conducted numerous workshops in the US and Canada. Gotham, along with Jane Peppler and Bob Vasile, founded Picknbow in 2011.
Danny will teach mandolin, guitar, uke, and lead the Sunday afternoon uke parade.
Jon Shain is a veteran singer-songwriter who’s been turning heads for years with his words, his fiery acoustic guitar work, and his evolved musical style – combining improvised Piedmont blues with bluegrass, swing, and ragtime. We are so proud of Jon’s recent and well-earned 1st place win in the 2019 International Blues Challenge (solo/duo). Shain’s most recent solo disc, Gettin’ Handy with the Blues: A Tribute to the Legacy of WC Handy, was released in January, 2018. Shain’s newest release is the gorgeous roots album, Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday Soon, recorded along with long-time collaborator FJ Ventre. Jon is the Teaching Workshop Coordinator at Picknbow.
Jon will teach classes on guitar technique and blues [Saturday only].
Jim Watson went to his first fiddlers convention in 1965. He played with the Hollow Rock String Band and in 1972 was a founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers playing mandolin, guitar, and autoharp. In 1988, he started playing with Robin and Linda Williams and their Fine Group. He works with the world-famous country duet Duke LaCrosse and Pinky Wyoming and plays string bass with the Green Level Entertainers. Jim also performs with the Piedmont Melody Makers, which features IBMA Hall of Fame member Alice Gerrard, Chris Brashear & Cliff Hale. Besides his recordings with the Red Clay Ramblers and Robin & Linda Williams, he has several solo recordings, plus ones with the Piedmont Melody Makers, Craver Hicks Watson & Newberry, and the late Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman.
Jim will teach guitar and mandolin. Want to learn about Mother Maybelle's guitar style? Here is an expert to guide you.
Julie Elkins has toured internationally with several different bands, and has recorded all kinds of cool music on various projects throughout the past two decades. With family roots in East Kentucky, she comes from a long line of bluegrass musicians and singers. By age 12, she was the three-time winner of the Classic West Open Banjo Competition, and was invited to join her first band before she was old enough to drive. Julie received her bluegrass education while performing a long stint with North Carolina's renowned bluegrass band, New Vintage. In 1999, she joined the trailblazing bluegrass/Americana band, Kane's River, and in 2006, she was awarded an IBMA award for "Recorded Project of the Year" for her contribution to "Back To The Well," a recording featuring the Daughters of Bluegrass. Originally from Bozeman, Montana, she now makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she teaches banjo, guitar and vocal lessons.
Julie will teach guitar, banjo and vocals. If you want to learn about that high and lonesome sound, visit one of her workshops.
Kenny Jackson traces musical roots back to gatherings at his grandparents’ Kentucky home when he was very young. By 1980 he was playing in various bluegrass configurations around the musically fertile university community of Bloomington, IN. In the mid-80s he established a musical reputation as a spot-on guitarist performing in a premier old-time trio with Brad Leftwich and Linda Higginbotham. Later, he co-founded, performed, and recorded with acclaimed string bands The Rhythm Rats (with Paula Bradley and Whitt Mead), Big Medicine (with Joe Newberry, Jim Collier, LaNelle Davis, and Bobb Head), and the Bow Benders (with Erynn Marshall, Carl Jones, and Bobb Head).
Well-known for his old-time fiddling, Kenny is also a wonderful banjo player and singer, personal in his interpretations while remaining well-rooted. As a composer, he’s contributed fresh tunes to the ongoing tradition, and more recently he has begun to show his hand as a distinctive songwriter. Over the decades he has played many concert venues, dances, and dodgy dives, and has appeared on notable broadcasts, including A Prairie Home Companion, with Big Medicine.
Kenny Jackson will teach old time fiddle and guitar. Get some deep old-time music in your soul!
Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. His powerful and innovative banjo playing, as well as his songwriting, guitar skills, fiddling, and singing has delighted audiences around the world.
Joe grew up in a family full of singers and dancers. He took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. He came to North Carolina as a young man and quickly became an anchor of the incredible music scene in the state. Still going strong more than 30 years later, he does solo and studio work, and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops in North America and abroad
Joe's songwriting is characterized by the same clean, elegant style as his banjo playing. Musicians in the folk and bluegrass world often record his songs. The Gibson Brothers' version of his song Singing As We Rise, featuring guest vocalist Ricky Skaggs, won the 2012 IBMA "Gospel Recorded Performance" award. In 2013, Joe shared co-writing honors with Eric Gibson for the IBMA Song of the Year, They Called It Music.
Joe will teach guitar, banjo, and songwriting; learn from a master of all three.
Based in Chapel Hill, NC, FJ Ventre plays some of the most brilliant, kick-ass upright and electric bass you’ll ever see and sings honky-tonk and country-swing as if he’s borrowed Bob Will’s hat and string tie. He currently performs with numerous acts from The Triangle area, including Jon Shain, Wyatt Easterling, Wes Collins, the bennys, Nantahala and others. He has also played with the Chris Stamey Group, the Swang Brothers, Rebecca and The Hi-Tones, Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos, The Stars Explode, and Tom Maxwell.
He is also a highly-sought after teacher of upright acoustic and electric bass, one of the most popular music teachers in the area
Many local musicians have benefited from his expertise as a recording engineer. His studio, Good Luck Studio, has recorded and mixed projects for Jon Shain, The Swang Brothers, Jeff Hart, Hailey Clark, The Infidels, Tad Walters, Tom Maxwell, and many others including Picknbow campers Isabel Taylor, Leah Kaufman, Penne Sandbeck, Suzanne Schmid, and Alex Hardy.
FJ will teach all levels of bass, so come get your groove on.
Jan Johansson was born in Sweden and has been playing acoustic music since the age of 14. By the time he was 18, Jan had mastered the guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. Jan came to the United States in 1986 to play traditional and bluegrass music. In 1989, he and Theresa Blue, a native of Carthage, NC, were married. Jan and Theresa later adopted four Russian children. In North Carolina, Jan began working as a freelance translator and music instructor. He founded Johansson's Acoustic Music Studio (JAMS) to provide music instruction for people of all age groups interested in bluegrass and other forms of acoustic music. Focused on one-on-one personal instruction, JAMS has taught hundreds of acoustic musicians in and around North Carolina in guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and bass.
Johansson has also worked extensively as a studio musician, contributing to albums such as Lorraine Jordan's Mandolin Rose and the Wells Family's On Destiny's Road. In 2001, Johansson was instrumental in organizing the Amazing Grace Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh. This event, which served as a fundraiser for orphaned children in Russia, brought together IIIrd Tyme Out, Larry Sparks, the Lonesome River Band, and several other leading bands. The festival was complemented by a benefit album entitled The Amazing Grace Project, featuring music by many of the artists who appeared at the festival, as well as contributions from David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Bobby Hicks, Laurie Lewis, Butch Robins, and many others.
Jan will teach bluegrass fiddle [Sunday only].
Bobb Head is a Texan transplanted to North Carolina, contributing top-notch guitar, banjo picking, and harmony vocals - and he is a bass player whom any string band would covet as a member. When he's not playing with Big Medicine, you can see him with the Stillhouse Bottom Band; with Dueling Shoes, a percussive dance ensemble; and the Deep Phat Friars, an irreverent southern-fried contra band. He has also performed with a number of pickup bands. Before moving to North Carolina, he played with the Privy Tippers in Tucson and, before that, with the Self-Righteous Brothers in Houston.
Bobb will teach claw-hammer banjo and beginning guitar.
Laurelyn Dossett is a beloved singer/songwriter who lives and writes in Stokes County, NC. Her songs have appeared in film and television and been recorded by Grammy-winning artists Levon Helm and Rhiannon Giddens.
More than just a singer-songwriter, Laurelyn writes, composes, and performs for the stage; she’s partnered with Triad Stage's Preston Lane on six plays-with-music, and in 2018 she premiered “Leaving Eden” at Playmaker’s with playwright Mike Wiley. Her song cycle, The Gathering: A Winter's Tale in Six Songs will be performed in November 2019 by the Winston-Salem Symphony.
Laurelyn will teach classes on vocal technique, performance, and songwriting.