Willie Drennan is a traditional Ulster-Scots musician, storyteller, poet and writer. The Ulster-Scots cultural traditions of his native County Antrim are the root source of much of his material. Among his most recent achievements, he has produced 14 CDs for the Ulster-Scots Folk Orchestra Association, created and developed an Ulster-Scots Youth/Schools Programme, directed and fronted the Ulster- Scots Folk Orchestra and associated folk bands in over 800 performances, produced Wee Book and accompanying CD published by Ullans Press, researched and scripted the stage show Fae Lang Syne: The Story of Ulster-Scots from Ancient Times to the Present Day, and produced several BBC radio and television programs. He has led more than 100 cultural heritage workshops and performs at festivals all over the world.
Tommy Sands is a singer, songwriter and social activist from County Down. From the pioneering tours with the highly influential Sands Family to his solo career playing prestigious venues from Carnegie Hall to Moscow's Olympic Stadium, Tommy has become one of Ireland's most powerful songwriters and enchanting performers. He enjoys celebrity status in many parts of the world, tempered by artistic integrity and the sorrow of personal tragedy in his war-torn homeland. His work around the globe speaks to our common heritage, using music to bridge cultural differences. In this way he shares a vision with songwriters instigating social change, such as Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and his close friend the late Pete Seeger. Tommy’s music moves from traditional Irish to contemporary folk.
Stuart Duncan is a Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist perhaps best known as a fiddler, singer and songwriter with the Nashville Bluegrass Band, playing fiddle as well as singing and writing songs for the group. He continues with the Nashville Bluegrass Band today.
Stuart is hot on the fiddle with a style all of his own. His mastery of fiddle, mandolin, guitar and banjo has graced albums by artists such as Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson Tim McGraw, Lyle Lovett, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson and George Strait. He is an eight-time IBMA “Fiddle Player of the Year”, and has also won two Grammy awards with the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Additionally, he has won five Academy of Country Music “Fiddle Player of the Year” awards, and was awarded “Specialty Instrument Player of the Year” in 2006. Stuart Duncan was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2015.
Tim O’Brien is a Grammy-winning singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and a lifelong devotee of old time and bluegrass music. Tim first toured nationally with the Colorado bluegrass band Hot Rize, which formed in 1978. Artists including Kathy Mattea, Nickel Creek and Garth Brooks have covered his songs. O’Brien says his most recent recording He Walked On is about “what you need to do to survive in America.” Other notable O’Brien recordings include the bluegrass Dylan covers of Red On Blonde, the Celtic-Appalachian fusion of The Crossing, and the Grammy-winning folk of Fiddler’s Green. His 2017 release Where the River Meets the Road paid tribute to the music of his native West Virginia.
Josh Dukes is an All-Ireland champion accompanist and a highly-sought-after music teacher in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. A multi-instrumentalist whose talents embrace the guitar, bouzouki, bodhran, flute, and tin whistle, Josh has established a reputation for providing sensitive, tasteful support for traditional Irish music. John has shared the stage with such renowned musicians as John Doyle, Paddy Keenan, Billy and Sean McComiskey, Brendan Mulvihill, Skip Healy, Zan McLeod, and Myron Bretholz. He can be seen performing regularly with The Old Bay Ceili Band. A U.S. Army Master Sergeant, Josh is one of three Drum Majors for the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, "The Official Escort to the President," the only military unit of its kind.
Saro Lynch-Thomason is a ballad singer, harmonium player, folklorist, illustrator, author and social activist from Asheville, NC. Her passion for traditional music, people’s struggles and Appalachian traditions has called her to perform, teach and produce media that tell the stories and songs of America’s social history. Her distinct, powerful singing style transports audiences to Appalachian mountain hollers, 19th-century coal camps and old meeting houses. Combining music, narratives and multimedia, Saro delivers memorable and moving performances that bring the people’s history and song to life.