October 6-10, 2021
Phil Wiggins, Jim Kweskin, Kristina Olsen, Mary Flower
Registration opens on Thursday, July 8, at 10:00 am Pacific time
Want to see last year's instructors in action? A pandemic silver lining is you can watch their concert from October 2020 on our YouTube channel. This concert featured Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Jim Kweskin, Kristina Olsen and Mary Flower.Watch the 2020 Concert
Link to the 2020 video archive page
Mary Flower’s immense fingerstyle guitar and lap-slide prowess is soulful and meter-perfect, a deft blend of the inventive, the dexterous and the mesmerizing. Her supple honey-and-whiskey voice provides the perfect melodic accompaniment to each song’s story.
An internationally known and award-winning picker, singer/songwriter and teacher, the Midwest native relocated from Denver to the vibrant Portland, Oregon music scene in in 2004. She continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals, teaching seminars and concert stages domestically and abroad, including Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, Prairie Home Companion and the Vancouver Folk Festival, among many.
A finalist in 2000 and 2002 at the National Finger Picking Guitar Championship, a nominee in 2008, 2012 and 2016 for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award, and many times a Cascade Blues Assn. Muddy Award winner, Flower embodies a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic-blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz.
Flower’s 11 recordings, including her four for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records — Bywater Dance, Instrumental Breakdown, Bridges and Misery Loves Company — show a deep command of and love for folk and blues string music. For Flower, it’s never about re-creation. Her dedication to the art form is a vital contribution to America’s music.
"Flower is a renowned guitar instructor, teaching at music camps and festivals, offering lessons via Skype, and frequently crafting articles and tips as a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar. But she cannot be narrowly defined. Livin’ with the Blues Again showcases her talents as a complete artist, deeply versed in an array of vernacular styles for which she demonstrates an abiding love that underlies her quietly jaw-dropping technique. She may not sing with the soulful grit and urgency of Rory Block, Maria Muldaur, or Bonnie Raitt, but her stylistic range is broader, approaching that of David Bromberg or Ry Cooder. What fun for those who don’t know her music to discover her here." —Acoustic Guitar Magazine
In the 1960s Jim Kweskin led the groundbreaking Jug Band, admired and imitated by everyone from folk and blues musicians to rockers like the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Grateful Dead. They had Janis Joplin (with Big Brother & The Holding Company) and Linda Ronstadt (with The Stone Ponys) as opening acts. Bob Dylan co-billed with Kweskin in Greenwich village.
Kweskin's band played blues and ragtime, good time jazz and novelties, reaching back to the roots of American music: field recordings from the Library of Congress and the rural artists reissued in the 1950s on Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music. Kweskin played alongside masters like Mississippi John Hurt, Sippie Wallace, Maybelle Carter, and Clayton McMichen, artists who grew up in times and places where this music was an integral part of their communities.
Since this auspicious start, Kweskin continues to break ground with his incredible guitar work and vocals, while keeping American music traditions vibrant. He has toured and recorded with long-time friends and collaborators (among them, Jug Band co-founders Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, and Bill Keith) as well as newer faces in the folk world (Samoa Wilson, Meredith Axelrod, Juli Crockett).
As Kweskin says,“We are the elders now, whether we want to be or not. And we like a lot of different styles, and play a lot of different things, but we feel like we have a duty to introduce younger people to this music, to keep the tradition alive.”
"The rock historian Ed Ward went so far as to place the Kweskin Band alongside the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Byrds as that period's most influential groups."
— Alex Ward, The New York Times
"Kweskin virtually single-handedly created what was a significant musical genre in the USA in the early 1960s...” — Iain Patience, Elmore Magazine
Fun fact: In the 1970s, Kweskin recorded some vocals for the popular children's TV show Sesame Street, most notably, "Ladybugs' Picnic."
Kristina Olsen is a powerfully engaging multi-instrumentalist with a blues raw velvet voice, brilliant guitar skills (on acoustic and steel-body slide guitar) and a fine way of crafting a song, from hilarious tales of love-gone-wrong to seriously compelling songs of rare insight and compassion.
Raised in the musically fertile San Francisco of the 1960s, where she was exposed to blues, psychedelic rock, folk, and a variety of other styles, Olsen is as comfortable with a self-penned acoustic ballad as she is with a gritty, classic blues tune by Robert Johnson. Olsen plays guitar and piano, but also plays 13 other instruments, most of which can be heard on her various recordings, which feature well-known traditional songs and blues as well as her own compositions.
"To begin with the songs, they are those wonderful gems of song writing which don’t rely on any particular genre for their beginnings. Olsen builds melodies, not styles. She can wind them into unpredictable combinations which then become lovely melodies or she can deliver them in straight lines which become jazz- or blues-oriented pieces. Her guitar stylings are wide, ranging from delicate, complicated runs to aggressive direct blues runs. She’s a sharp guitarist, able to provide herself with both the rhythm and lead pieces she needs to give her songs solid solo support. As a storyteller, Olsen is similarly wonderful, mixing earthy observations about herself and those around with the occasional comment about society’s various shortcomings. Most of all, though, Olsen is funny, noting those things which innocently point out where she and all of us provide material for comic relief. She’s talented, funny, and observant, and consequently she becomes the witty friend who shares her life with you, not preaching to you or insisting on our praise to maintain the friendship." — Roots & Reel
"Olsen is an eclectic artist worthy of much more acclaim." — Los Angeles Times
Fun fact: Won the New Folk contest at the Kerrville [Texas] Folk Festival in 1985.
Washington, D.C. native Phil Wiggins, a Takoma Park, Maryland, resident, blues musician, teacher and artistic director, a two time winner of the prestigious WC Handy Blues Foundation awards, is only the third harmonica player to receive the lifetime honor of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Today he is the only living player of the instrument to hold the prestigious honor of being a “Master of Traditional Arts.” Often referred to by its unofficial designation as “Living Cultural Treasure” award, the fellowship honors and preserves the diverse cultural heritage in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) annually awards one-time-only NEA National Heritage Fellowships to master folk and traditional artists, to recognize lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage. In 2021 he was awarded the Maryland Heritage Award, also the most prestigious cultural award bestowed on the arts in the state.
Phil Wiggins is arguably America’s foremost blues harmonica virtuoso. While rooted in the melodic Piedmont or “Tidewater” blues of the Chesapeake region, his mastery of the instrument now transcends stylistic boundaries. Born in Washington D.C. in 1954, Phil Wiggins achieved worldwide acclaim over three decades as one half of the premier Piedmont blues duo of Cephas & Wiggins. Since the death of guitarist and singer John Cephas in 2009, Phil brought his harmonica wizardry to bear in a variety of musical collaborations." - National Council for the Traditional Arts
Information coming soon:
Lodging & Meals
Being safe at an in-person event at Menucha