Charlie Cushman was born just north of Nashville in Clarksville, Tennessee. He became interested in the banjo like so many others, after seeing and hearing Earl Scruggs on television in the Flatt and Scruggs Show. He took some formal lessons but soon began learning everything he could on his own. By the time he was ten years old he was already playing on a local radio show, and by 14, Charlie was playing six days a week on the Carl Tipton Show on WLAC-TV. Fast forward a few decades (which included stints with Mel Tillis, Jimmy Martin, and years as a multi-instrumentalist at Opryland, not to mention a prolific studio career) - these days Charlie is doing his heroes proud by playing in what many people are calling the greatest touring traditional bluegrass band in the country, the Earls of Leicester. Charlie is also known as one of the finest banjo set-up professionals anywhere. If you factor in his incredible rapport with people, customers, and students, and his love for teaching, you can't deny that Charlie Cushman is a bluegrass banjo legend in the making.
Chicago born and bred, Greg has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He co-founded The Special Consensus in Chicago in 1975 and has continued to tour nationally and internationally with the band ever since. He has appeared on all 17 of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercial jingles. Greg has released four banjo instructional DVDs and two banjo tablature books, and he teaches banjo at festival workshops and at music camps nationally and internationally. He is a banjo instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and has been an adjunct faculty member of the music department (teaching banjo) at Columbia College in Chicago. The 2012 band recording “Scratch Gravel Road” was Grammy-nominated, and the 2014 band recording “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards (both released by Compass Records). Greg is one of the most innovative banjo players of his generation and is a lively and enthusiastic teacher. Nobody doesn't love Greg Cahill.
Jeff Scroggins has won numerous contests and awards in his career, including the prestigious National Bluegrass Banjo Championship, and dozens of state, regional and local banjo contests. Jeff has performed and recorded with many of the top names in bluegrass, and his work has been featured in movies and television as well as numerous radio and TV commercials. He is an internationally known performer and teacher; he has taken his fiery banjo style to stages in Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada, Malaysia, etc. Jeff is also well-known as a banjo teacher. He taught for years at the prestigious Swallow Hill Music School in Denver, Colorado, and he has taught at many bluegrass music camps in the US and abroad. Jeff’s band, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado tours extensively, both nationally and internationally, and it features some of the finest bluegrass talent in the West, including Jeff’s 22 year old son and IBMA Award nominee, mandolinist Tristan Scroggins, 2016 Arizona State Fiddle Champion and 2016 Rockygrass Fiddle Champion Ellie Hakanson, and five-time SPBGMA Midwest Guitarist of the year Greg Blake. The band’s third CD, “Ramblin Feels Good” was released in early 2016.
Jens Koch fell in love with the banjo at the age of 11. And as you can imagine, it was more than a bit challenging trying to learn to play the bluegrass banjo growing up in Sweden, thousands of miles from the birth of bluegrass music. But when you love something, you'll do what it takes and Jens did everything he could to become one of the most proficient banjo players in the world. He saved up for his first ticket to the States when he was 14 and began studying with some of the best in bluegrass and not long into adulthood Jens helped found Swedish supergroup, G2. The band toured all over the world and made several hit bluegrass albums. Jens soon emerged as a hugely influential banjo player throughout Europe. He is now teaching private lessons as well as camps and workshops and touring in several bluegrass and Americana configurations. We are delighted to present Jens in his first American camp experience. He is a thoughtful and specific teacher and loves to pick tunes until the wee hours of the morning.