Ron has been playing traditional music since 1976. Early in his career, he realized the importance of bowing styles in traditional fiddle music, and spent much time researching technique. Once becoming engrossed in the foundations of Rags, Blues, and Jug Band Music, he merged the styles a bit to form a very distinctive sound of his own. This could not have been done without the tremendous help of old recordings he collected throughout the country prior to the invention of the CD.
Ron has played fiddle for dances from coast to coast, and taught workshops on bowing styles and rags and blues repertory on campuses in West Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. His previous recording, "The Blue Ridge Mountain Minstrels" (released in 1991) is still available on cassette.
Randy Johnson, currently living in Greensboro, North Carolina has been an influential part of the old-time music scenes of Philadelphia and Asheville in recent years. He is a talented multi-instrumentalist and an excellent singer. Equally at home on fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin, he can add just the right touch to any session. Randy honed his skills playing for dances in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, touring with Pittsburgh's Coal Country Cloggers as their fiddler. Randy has played at such places as the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Black Mountain's LEAF festival, and has been an Artist-in-Residence for the Ohio Arts Council.
W.B. Reid grew up hearing a wide variety of music from classical to folk, and got hooked on fingerpicking as a teenager in the 1960s after hearing the recordings of Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis. He has performed for over 30 years, both solo and with a wide variety of groups, picking up the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin along the way and branching off into old-time and international music. In 1992 he acquired a vintage Vega banjo-guitar, an instrument that proved to be a perfect fit to his skills, style, and disposition. This fine instrument renewed his interest in jugband and blues band music and led to his founding of the Todalo Shakers with Eric and Suzy Thompson and Frannie Leopold. These days W.B. performs regularly with several groups including For Old Times' Sake, Armonikos, Lee Stripling, and with his wife Bonnie Zahnow.
The earliest recollection Luke has of playing the jug comes from the early 60s when he briefly performed with the "Holy Modal Rounders". He would get on stage with a full gallon of red wine and unscrew the top, take a few chugs and start playing. As the gig went on the tone got deeper. His first instrument learned at the age of 9 was harmonica. He added banjo and guitar to his instrument repertory in his mid teens, tunneling through the Library of Congress folk series and learning all sorts of songs, classic ballads and blues from the Southern Mountains.
Luke was part of the band "Insect Trust" with Bill Barth - a well known blues musician from Memphis. Luke also played with "90 proof" - a band with Steve James. Luke recorded on several occasions with Dave Van Ronk, including a Robert Johnson memorial CD which came out a few years ago.
Luke is a talented song writer and has contributed to many recording projects over the years. Nowadays, he helps run a kids dance studio in Hoboken, NJ, and plays when he can. If you want to know more, you can read Bob Dylan's new book ("Chronicles"), or a very recently released book by Dave Van Ronk ("The King of Greenwhich Villege") Luke just turned 70, and has been doing Tai Chi for 40 years.