THE FAMILY DOG‘s music is a cross section of roots, blues, folk and gospel music.
Members of the band have history together going back in some cases to early childhood years, felt in the spontaneous smiles, laughter, and warmth shared as each musical short story is experienced. They find their adventures together and with you the audience to be the anti-venom to the sting of life, full of respect and love.
Band members are Donald Landies (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Jeff Martin (bass, vocals), Pops MaGooch (percussion), Eric Miller (guitar/dobro) and Dr. Noel Black (guitar, banjo).
Many know Matt here as former producer/announcer at FolkAlley.com. Previously he was known as the voice of folk music in Michigan for his 20-year stint at WDET–Detroit Public Radio.
MATT WATROBA has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture, shaping a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country. He has shared the stage with some of our greatest performers, including Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Christine Lavin, Peter Yarrow, and Richard Thompson. Add Matt's own special brand of humor and you are in for a most entertaining day.
LOST STATE OF FRANKLIN repeatedly astonishes audiences with layered trumpet, guitar and voice with a simple loop pedal to create a fresh orchestra of rock, folk, jazz and country sound. Albums are like treasured books; listeners quote, underline, and live by phrases that describe their own lives.
Clevelander Scott Franklin is a modern renaissance artist, winning admiration worldwide as a vocalist, songwriter, poet, jazz trumpet player and as an innovator in loop pedal performance. Scott is the winner of the Frank Brown International Songwriter Festival Contest and has played concerts supporting George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Huey Lewis, the Oak Ridge Boys and Stella Parton.
The group pounds out tales of lost love and the love you’ll never leave, coal mines and shiny cars, rusted trucks and relentless steam trains.
"Dan Bankhurst is a terrific guitar player. He has an amazing fingerpicking style that sets him apart." - Jim Henke, former curator of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and Rolling Stone magazine music editor
With roots in rock, blues, soul, funk and jazz, the popular Nashville-based guitarist DAN BANKHURST, previously from Chardon, brings a new groove to traditional and contemporary fingerstyle guitar playing. He has shared the stage with the likes of Phil Keaggy, Muriel Anderson, Jim Nichols, Thom Bresh, John Knowles, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland, and the late Pete Huttlinger. Bankhurst is was proclaimed Winner of the 2013 International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition, and albums have received critical acclaim.
HOT DJANG! is an acoustic jazz quintet featuring violin, clarinet, acoustic guitars and upright bass. Their inspiration comes from the style of jazz made popular in Paris during the 1930’s known as “Gypsy Jazz.” In addition, they play jazz and swing standards from the American Songbook.
Reed Simon (violin) has worked with many of Cleveland's top jazz musicians and national artists including guitarist Tony Mattolla, vibraphonist Gary Burton and as a special guest on a Duke Ellington program at Severance Hall.
Kevin Richards (guitar) is highly regarded in the local roots music scene ane has shared stages with Mac Martin, John Hammond, Jorma Kaukonen, Howard Armstrong, and local blues legend Robert Lockwood Jr.
Brad Smedley (guitar) is the heartbeat of the band. He has studied under several of the best jazz guitarists of this genre including Frank Vignola, Gonzolo Begara, and Robin Nolan.
Bryan Thomas (contrabass) has numerous performance credits including Terry Gibbs, Junior Mance, Vic Damone, Russell Malone and locally with The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra and Ernie Krivda.
PAUL KOVAC - banjo, multi-instrumentalist, singer & writer - is joined by Northeast Ohio's finest acoustic pickers performing bluegrass and classics with distinction, humor and flair. With Scott Pearson, Bill Lestock, Ron Bonkowski and Drew Bonnis.
A trained musician, Dennis Bowers started playing dulcimer seven years ago as a way to combine his affection for woodworking and music. Dennis was a second-place winner at the 2014 Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival competition in Winfield, Kansas. With his wife Kaja, Dennis is part of the duo Denja, a popular folk duo in Northeast Ohio that specializes in Celtic and American traditional tunes.
Unlock the arcane language of an Old Time jam session with Joel Specht on banjo and Ken Roby on fiddle (and whatever else he feels like). Join the jam circle, or just watch and listen as they pass down tunes in the traditional way. All old time musicians of all skill levels welcome.
Samantha McNamara, a classical musician and teacher, also enjoys the fiddle, specializing in traditional Irish music. She has performed in Indianapolis with her band Edge of Erin, and also with the popular Indy based band Ennis Clare.
Join Samantha McNamara as she leads a traditional seisiun. Bring your instrument and play along, offer your favorite set of tunes, or sit back and enjoy listening to a great mix of Irish music. Samantha is a violin and viola teacher and performer with her studio, McNamara Strings, located on the south side of Cleveland. Besides classical music, Samantha enjoys the fiddle, specializing in traditional Irish music.
This workshop will give you the opportunity to experience the power of song and community singing as well as give you the tools to start a singing tradition in your community. Song choice, song leading, and best practices will be modeled for the purpose of reminding us that singing is way too important to be left just to the professionals! The community sing will be led by Matt Watroba who is also emceeing and performing on the Blue Sky stage today.
This should be fun - Kevin Richards and Bryan Thomas, and Scott Franklin. Kevin and Bryan are members of Hot Djang! and Scott is with Lost State of Franklin - both groups performing later on the Main Stage.
We’re thrilled that the one and only Doug Unger will host a clawhammer banjo workshop at Blue Sky Folk Fest with Paul Kovac. Doug is an accomplished musician, artist, Ohio Arts Council grants and fellowships recipient, master instrument builder, storyteller, and joke teller. Don’t miss this one! Thanks to blogger Brad Kramer and Glory-Beaming Banjo for the photo.
Paul Kovac has taught at many music camps, recently including Midwest Banjo Camp and Swannanoa Gathering. He coordinated Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center for a decade, performed with Bill Monroe, Chubby Wise and Mac Wiseman among others, and sings and plays most of the bluegrass instruments. A Chardon native, Kovac is active in recording and producing music, has played on countless albums, and considers himself a working folk musician.
Bill Lestock will teach mandolin techniques and a different approach of playing. This includes mandolin as a solo instrument, compositions consisting of crosspicking, using a slide and playing with a new approach to a very old instrument. Bill is a multi instrumentalist and has been playing music in NE Ohio for several decades. His band The Bill Lestock Trio features his mandolin compositions, a variety of something new and different in folk music to the area. Bill is playing in the bluegrass ensemble Paul Kovac's 'Grass Party on the Main Stage today.
Fiddle tunes of modern day folk music, led by Bill Lestock. The synergy of traditional fiddle music doesn't ever end. Writing tunes comes naturally from years of practice and a clear respect from learning good music. If you play tribute music, that is how you learn. Push forward with compositions that represent and honor the past. Bring something to the party!
This workshop features a Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet, "Lake Affect," from the Cleveland East Suburbanaires. They will delight you with their fun to sing harmony while teaching you how to ring a chord. Barbershop is a Made In USA, special type of harmony, from its 19th century African American roots through its 20th century popular growth. Its four-part a capella harmony has a unique style and sound. Song choices can go from the turn of (last) century through recent popular tunes - it’s the style, not the song selection that makes Barbershop unique. Remember - Life’s A Pitch, And Then You SING! Join in to Keep The Whole World Singing!
Cleveland native Bob Frank spent 18 years as the leader of the Hotfoot Quartet, touring throughout North America and recording several albums. As a sideman he has worked with Robert Lockwood, Wallace Coleman, fiddler Howard Armstrong, the Falls City Ramblers, and British bluesman Long John Baldry. During the day Bob works through Young Audiences, performing traditional American music assembly programs for children. He has done over 3,000 of these programs in schools throughout the United States. Bob is also one of the founders of the Cleveland Blues Society.
Bob Frank of Blue Lunch got the blues bug when he heard artists such as Muddy Waters and Paul Butterfield on the first few “Blues Bag” programs on WRUW-FM. He went out and bought a harmonica, and played in various band through high school. While in college in Boston, he was able to accompany David Bromberg and Vassar Clements on his harmonica. In 1975 he began playing in bluegrass bands, continuing for about 20 years. Bob also enjoys solo work and writes his own music. David Rice grew up in Oklahoma and moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area in 1981. It was here that his passion for the harmonica’s role in Old Time music was ignited by hearing recordings of harmonica players Dr. Humphrey Bate and De Ford Bailey. Through the experience of playing in several local area dance bands throughout the 80’s and 90’s and the assimilation of the styles of many different traditional players, most of whom are fiddlers, he has developed an approach to harmonica playing that is both rhythmic and melodic. He is also a luthier on staff at Family Learning Center for Music in Twinsburg.
With roots in rock, blues, soul, funk and jazz, the popular Nashville-based guitarist Dan Bankhurst (and Chardon native) brings a new groove to traditional and contemporary fingerstyle guitar playing. He has shared the stage with the likes of Phil Keaggy, Muriel Anderson, Jim Nichols, Thom Bresh, John Knowles, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland, and the late Pete Huttlinger. Dan was winner of the 2013 International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition, and albums have received critical acclaim. He was featured at the Woodchoppers Ball in Kent in 2013 and 2015, and he has performed repeatedly at the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention.
For age 8 and above. Join song writer Sheela Das of Creative Concepts in Music, who will help kids write their own songs Ukuleles will be used to develop the music. Bring your ideas and instruments! We will perform our songs at the end of the session.
Now a member of the band Long Road, in the 1970s Bob Sandham played with legendary Ohio singer-songwriters Alex Bevan, John Bassette and Pat Daily, and others in the region, and spent much time recording and performing in concerts, clubs and coffee houses and on radio and TV. In 2006, he joined Bevan and bassist Paul Hamman in a reunion concert at the Kent Stage, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Bevan's Springboard album.
Brad Smedley has played music most of his life, starting with piano at age five years and moving to saxophone in junior high. After discovering Bob Dylan, he took up the guitar and focused on folk, bluegrass and country music. He is a founding member of Hot Djang! which performs gypsy-jazz classics and original songs and will be performing today on the Blue Sky Main Stage.
This is jazz violin oriented towards Joe Venuti and the roots of American jazz as it influenced Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Reed Simon has worked with many of Cleveland’s top jazz musicians and national artists including guitarist Tony Mattolla, vibraphonist Gary Burton and as a special guest on a Duke Ellington program at Severance Hall. Brad Smedley has played music most of his life, starting with piano at age five years and moving to saxophone in junior high. After discovering Bob Dylan, he took up the guitar and focused on folk, bluegrass and country music. Reed and Brad are members of the Gypsy-jazz band Hot Djang! playing the Main Stage today.
Scott Franklin of the band Lost State of Franklin has written nearly 1,000 songs and has authored poetry books, children books and joke books. He writes: "If I said I played music because I had to…that’d be the partial truth. I write words because I have to. I write songs, poems, paragraphs and fill up napkins and paper bags with words because I have to. Music has naturally been the best way to filter those words into the world." Lost State of Franklin will be on the Main Stage today.
Scott Franklin is the winner of the 2013 Frank Brown International Songwriter Festival Contest. He is a frequent performer in the Mississippi Songwriters Festival. Scott grew up on the border of North Carolina and Virginia, then attended high school in Cleveland and college at Bowling Green. He was raised on down home American music and grew up to travel the world as a jazz trumpet player.. His longing for the roots music on which he was raised and a new-found love for poetry meshed with jazz, and he transitioned into a jazz beat poet and finally the frontman for Lost State of Franklin.
Jim Kozel is a Cleveland-based luthier as well as a guitarist, songwriter and teacher. He has been setting up, repairing and building instruments for more than 50 years. He says your instrument needs to fit you like a comfortable old pair of jeans.
Bring your own ukulele or borrow one of Sheela’s to learn lots of chords, strumming patterns, and songs. All ages welcome! Sheela Das directs Creative Concepts in Music and is the member of an Ohio Arts Council Touring band. She has created numerous commissioned performances and workshops for festivals and Cleveland based arts organizations serving senior citizens, youth and disabled adults since 2007.
Jim Kozel, Cleveland luthier and teacher of ukulele and guitar, writes on his blog, “I saw Jake Shimabukuro’s ukulele arrangement of While My Guitar Gently Weeps nine years ago and immediately brought the ukulele into my family of stringed instruments. Since that time I’ve composed with the ukulele, have built custom ukuleles and teach ukulele.”
Pat Podpadec, owner of Liam Guitars, builds guitars and other stringed instruments at his shop in Madison, Ohio. He has been repairing stringed instruments since 1982, when he apprenticed with Luthier Rod Fitts. At his shop Pat custom handcrafts guitars, ukuleles, harp guitars and more in addition to providing instrument repair and repair lessons.
Paul Kovac, Scott Pearson and Ron Bonkowski demonstrate/lecture how bluegrass works, and how it's different from other kinds of folk music. They are three of the five members of Paul Kovac's 'Grass Party playing on the Blue Sky Main Stage at 6:15 pm.
Family DogThe Family Dog's music is a cross section of roots, blues, folk and gospel music.12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Matt WatrobaMATT WATROBA has come in contact with many aspects of folk music and culture, shaping a repertoire and presentation that is unique on stages across the state and country.1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Lost State of FranklinLOST STATE OF FRANKLIN repeatedly astonishes audiences with layered trumpet, guitar and voice with a simple loop pedal to create a fresh orchestra of rock, folk, jazz and country sound.2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
Dan BankhurstWinner of the 2013 International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Competition.3:30 pm - 4:15 pm
Hot Djang!HOT DJANG! is an acoustic jazz quintet featuring violin, clarinet, acoustic guitars and upright bass.4:45 pm - 5:45 pm
Paul Kovac's 'Grass PartyPAUL KOVAC - banjo, multi-instrumentalist, singer & writer - is joined by Northeast Ohio's finest acoustic pickers performing bluegrass and classics with distinction, humor and flair.6:15 pm - 7:30 pm
Community Sing, with Matt WatrobaThis workshop will give you the opportunity to experience the power of song and community singing as well as give you the tools to start a singing tradition in your community. Song choice, song leading, and best practices will be modeled for the purpose of reminding us that singing is way too important to be left just to the professionals! The community sing will be led by Joanne Laessig of Folknet.org and Matt Watroba who is also emceeing and performing on the Blue Sky stage today12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Swing Jam, with Kevin Richards, Bryan Thomas and Scott FranklinJoin the pros for a swing jam.1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Clawhammer Banjo Techniques, with Doug Unger & Paul Kovac2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Three-Finger Style Banjo, with Paul Kovac3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Mandolin Workshop, with Bill Lestock4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Original Fiddle Tunes, with Bill Lestock12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Barbershop Harmony, with the Cleveland East SuburbanairesRemember - Life's a Pitch, And Then You SING! Learn how to ring a chord.1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Blues Guitar, with Bob Frank2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Versatile Harmonica of Blues and Old-Time, with Bob Frank & Dave Rice3:15 pm - 4:15 pm
Fingerstyle Guitar for Intermediate & Advanced, with Dan Bankhurst4:45 pm - 5:45 pm
Song Writing for Kids, With Sheela Das12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Fingerpicking for Those Who Only Strum the Guitar, with Bob Sandham1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
How to Play Rhythm Guitar, with Brad Smedley2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Fiddle Workshop, with Reed Simon & Brad Smedley3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Song Lyrics Writing, with Scott Franklin4:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Melody Writing, with Scott Franklin5:00 pm - 5:45 pm
Bluegrass Breakdown, with Paul Kovac, Scott Pearson & Ronnie Bonkowski12:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Guitar Setup & Evaluation, with Jim Kozel, LuthierJim Kozel is a Cleveland-based luthier as well as a guitarist, songwriter and teacher. He has been setting up, repairing and building instruments for more than 50 years. He says your instrument needs to fit you like a comfortable old pair of jeans.12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Ukulele Madness (Beginner/Intermediate) with Sheela DasBring your own ukulele or borrow one of Sheela’s to learn lots of chords, strumming patterns, and songs. All ages welcome! Sheela Das directs Creative Concepts in Music and is the member of an Ohio Arts Council Touring band. She has created numerous commissioned performances and workshops for festivals and Cleveland based arts organizations serving senior citizens, youth and disabled adults since 2007.1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Fingerstyle Ukulele, with Jim Kozel2:00 pm - 2:45 pm
Discussion on Guitar Building & Repair, with Pat Podpadec, Luthier3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
Bluegrass Breakdown, with Paul Kovac, Scott Pearson & Ron Bonkowski4:15 pm - 5:00 pm