Aynsley began playing fiddle at the age of 9. She was introduced to bluegrass in her early teens, and quickly fell in love with the music. In order to further hone her craft, Aynsley enrolled in East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies degree program in 2013. She graduated in 2017 with an additional bachelor’s degree in English, and completed her master’s degree in Appalachian Studies in 2020.
Aynsley is also an experienced contest fiddler. She was Blessed to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee, and in 2017, she also became the Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champion, making her the first person to win both competitions. She also played in 2016 on the Grand Ole Opry.
In 2018, Aynsley joined the SPBGMA award-winning band Carolina Blue, and performed with them for four years before becoming one of the founding members of The Tennessee Bluegrass Band in 2021. She also received the 2018 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award. Aynsley spends her time off the road as a private fiddle instructor, session musician, and author. This is Aynsley’s second year teaching at the Monroe Mandolin Camp, and she is excited to share her love of old-school bluegrass fiddling with her students!
A Western Kentucky native, Vickie Vaughn stomped into Nashville with a fistful of original material and a desire to play bass and sing with the best of them. In 2015, Vaughn released her debut EP under the production of Bluegrass royalty Ronnie McCoury before heading out on the road singing background vocals with Patty Loveless. As a Kentuckian, Vickie is proud to serve on the Board of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro, KY, which presents Bluegrass fan favorite festival, ROMP. She has been sighted sharing the ROMP stage singing in a trio with fellow Kentuckians, Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless. Two Grand Ole Opry appearances later, Vickie now tours with Grammy-nominated Della Mae, who frequents the stage with comedic greats Steve Martin and Martin Short. Vickie is also proud to be on the Rebel Records roster with International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artist nominees, High Fidelity.
Chris Sharp (born 1973 in Asheville, North Carolina, United States) is an American musician, guitarist, singer, and record producer who participated in the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou. He is considered to be an accomplished guitarist and has taken a special interest in advancing Lester Flatt’s guitar style. Among other accomplishments, Chris has been nominated twice for a Grammy Award as a guitarist and producer and has won once. Bob Piekiel’s seminal banjo instruction book describes Chris as “the finest bluegrass rhythm guitar player in existence today.” Willie Nelson also considers Chris to be among “the cream of the crop.”
Around age 11, Sharp took up the fiddle and banjo. As a teenager he met George Buckner and joined his band, The Tarheel Bluegrass Boys, and in 1995 moved to Nashville with Buckner and Kevin Sluder. After two years, Sharp returned to North Carolina where he started a band called the Tipton Hill Boys.
With John Hartford
In 1997, Sharp landed a job touring with John Hartford and played guitar in the style of Lester Flatt in the John Hartford Stringband. This gig enabled Chris to play the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium numerous times. Chris played guitar and sang on John’s 1999 album Good Old Boys and John’s final album Hamilton Ironworks which was released in 2001. Chris also produced his first solo record Good Fa’air Side which featured musicians such as Earl Scruggs, Kenny Baker, Josh Graves, and John Hartford. During his time with John, Chris participated on the O Brother Where Art Thou? and Down from the Mountain projects; the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou helped Chris to win a Grammy Award. The Down from the Mountain documentary, which was filmed at the Ryman Auditorium, featured Chris playing guitar and singing. Chris was also part of the subsequent Down from the Mountain tour which played such venues as Radio City Music Hall, Constitution Hall, Universal Amphitheatre, and Carnegie Hall.
In 2001, after Hartford died, Sharp moved back to North Carolina. Chris joined Bobby Hicks, J.D. Crowe, and others to record on Josh Graves’s album Memories of Foggy Mountain. He would later form the Chris Sharp and David Long Band. This group released an album entitled One Hand on the Radio which was described as “something timeless—a record that sounds 50 years old and brand-new at the same time.” 2003 saw the release of the Tipton Hill Boys’ album Lucky whose ensemble (featuring drums, pedal steel guitar, and piano in addition to acoustic string instruments) was characterized in No Depression as reminiscent of “1960s Nashville bluegrass.” Chris played guitar and sang on Willie Nelson’s 2010 album Country Music and was featured on an episode of Soundstage as part of Willie’s band. The ensuing tour allowed Chris to make a return performance at the Ryman Auditorium. Also in 2010, Chris produced and performed on the Grammy-nominated recording Memories of John which reunited the John Hartford Stringband after nearly a decade. This album featured such artists as Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Mike Compton, Alison Brown, Bob Carlin, George Buckner, and Alan O’Bryant as well as John Hartford himself (who was present in the form of previously-unreleased recordings).
Singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett lives and writes in Stokes County, NC. Her songs have appeared in film and television (Hell on Wheels, Ain’t In it for My Health) and have been recorded by many artists including Grammy-winning Levon Helm (Anna Lee) and Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (Leaving Eden).
She has partnered with Triad Stage’s Preston Lane on six plays-with-music: Brother Wolf (2006), Beautiful Star:An Appalachian Nativity (2006), Bloody Blackbeard (2008), Providence Gap(2010), Snow Queen (2013, and Radiunt Abundunt (2016). In 2018 she wrote the songs for playwright Mike Wiley’s Leaving Eden; it premiered at Playmaker’s Repertory in 2018.
Her song cycle, The Gathering: A Winter’s Tale in Six Songs was commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony and premiered in Raleigh in 2011, Grant Llewellyn conducting. Guest artists on that project included Mike Compton, Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Newberry and Jason Sypher. The cd “The Gathering” made many of the top 10 holiday cds in 2011, including the NY Times, the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune. The Wall Street Journal said “It’s what the holidays were before shopping and Irving Berlin.” It was reprised by the Winston-Salem Symphony in 2019, Timothy Redmond conducting.
Laurelyn has written songs for various protest movements in North Carolina including My Beloved Enemy and Vote Against Amendment One. She remains a voice for social justice and environmental activism in North Carolina and beyond. The River’s Lament is her testament to the devastation of the Dan River coal ash spill. She founded and continues to host the annual “Songs of Hope and Justice” at the North Carolina Folk Festival.
Laurelyn has taught songwriting and singing at the Augusta Heritage Center, as well as at many universities, workshops and festivals. She is the recipient of the Betty Cone Medal of Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship for songwriting, the Chris Austin songwriting contest at Merlefest, and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.
Carl Jones is an American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in Macon, Georgia. He presently lives in Hillsville, Virginia and is widely respected for his instrumental talents and original songs about the joys and tribulations of life in the south.
Carl’s songs have been recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins w/ Tony Rice, and others. His song Last Time On The Road was on the grammy award winning album Unleashed by The Nashville Bluegrass Band.
He has recordings with Beverly Smith, James Bryan, and also with The Rising Fawn String ensemble (James along w/ Norman & Nancy Blake). For many years now he has recorded and tours with his wife, fiddler Erynn Marshall. Their latest releases are entitled Old Tin and Old Time Sweethearts Vol 1 & 2. www.dittyville.com
Alan Munde was born November 4, 1946 in Norman, Oklahoma and began his bluegrass banjo musical career while attending the University of Oklahoma. He and fellow student Byron Berline, fiddler extraordinaire, spent much of their time away from classes traveling around to various fiddle contests and musical events honing their performance skills.
After graduation, Byron left for a several month stint with Bill Monroe followed by a couple of years in the Army and on to his very long and successful career. After Alan’s graduation two years later in later 1969, he moved to Kentucky and recorded with Sam Bush and Wayne Stewart on the legendary and groundbreaking album Poor Richard’s Almanac. Moving to Nashville, Tennessee in late 1969 Alan was hired by Jimmy Martin to fill the banjo seat in his Sunny Mountain Boys bluegrass ensemble.
Alan toured and recorded with Jimmy Martin for two years appearing at many of the early festivals and participating in the recording of the much-applauded Jimmy Martin gospel album Singing All Day and Dinner on the Ground.
Leaving Nashville in early 1972, Alan rejoined his musical schoolmate Byron Berline as he and Roger Bush were forming in California the seminal bluegrass band Country Gazette. The Gazette traveled extensively making regular tours to Europe and Japan for several years. The group’s first album, Traitor in Our Midst, was a top selling album for United Artists. The Gazette, with many personnel changes over its thirty-five year run, has recorded over 30 projects (albums and CDs) and is still a touring with mandolin player Billy Bright and recording band under the banner The Bright Munde Quartet. Alan has also released many highly acclaimed banjo instrumental albums beginning with Banjo Sandwich to the most recent release on Munde’s Child Records of Bright Munde.
During his career Alan also spent much time developing bluegrass banjo workshop/seminar materials and presentations that have become a mainstay of the summer music camp scene. Munde was one of the first high-profile players to make his recorded solos available in written form and also one of the first artists to present workshops. He has made available much of his musical output available through instructional material for Mel Bay Publications, Texas Music and Video, and his on self produced material.
To further the educational aspects of his career, Munde joined in 1986 the faculty of the Creative Arts Department at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. As the bluegrass expert in the Commercial Music Program, Munde further developed his unique teaching concepts that resulted in several publications including Getting Into Bluegrass Banjo that offers his best effort at offering a systematic path to learning the bluegrass style banjo.
Alan retired from the school in 2007 and continues his performance, teaching and recording career. His latest recording project is a duo CD with mandolin player Billy Bright titled Bright Munde. Alan and co-author Beth Mead-Sullivan have a book available from publisher Hal Leondard titled The Great American Banjo Songbook containing banjo arrangements of 70 songs from the golden age of American popular songwriting. Additionally, Alan operates the on-line business Al Munde’s Banjo College that sells his instructional books, DVDs, his bluegrass banjo recordings, and downloadable lessons.
Christopher Henry is a second generation bluegrass musician. Son of Murphy and Red Henry, founders of the by-ear bluegrass instructional business, The Murphy Method, he grew up around the music and teaching. Christopher has been on stage for over 35 years and has taught for over 20 years. With his business, Noya Mountain Music, Christopher started doing Zoom workshops which he leads with David McLaughlin focused on learning Bill Monroe’s music by-ear. These workshops and the online video courses that accompany them have gotten international attention in the bluegrass world as a part of the unprecedented growth and flourishing of Monroe Style mandolin in recent years. He, his wife and stepson live in Charlotte, NC. (www.noyamountainmusic.com) Christopher@noyamountainmusic.com
Music has long been present in the life of Lauren Price Napier. Growing up, she learned to sing duet-style harmony with her twin sister, Leanna, by listening to their parents sing together. Although Lauren and Leanna were gifted instruments as children, it wasn’t until they attended a few workshops and festivals in their mid-high school years that they began to take a strong interest in bluegrass music. Lauren is a 2017 graduate of Morehead State University with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Traditional Music and a minor in Business Administration. She holds the role of co-founder, mandolinist, and vocalist with The Price Sisters band – most of her professional work in the music industry comes from within that position. While still in college, Lauren and Leanna signed with Rebel Records, released an EP, and subsequently began touring as The Price Sisters. The Sisters’ released their first full-length album for Rebel, “A Heart Never Knows,” in spring of 2018. Fronted by Lauren and Leanna, The Price Sisters five-piece band to-date has performed at numerous venues and festivals across the United States, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
In 2016, 2017, and 2020 Lauren was among thoseinstructing at the Monroe Mandolin Campand MMC’s “Mini Mon Camp.” She has taught classes at Bean Blossom Bluegrass Bootcamp, the Bobby Osborne Mandolin Roundup, and at various festivals where The Price Sisters have performed. Lauren, along with her sister Leanna, has worked as an artist-in-residence with the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum and in June of 2019, was featured for an interview on Mandolin Cafe. Lauren was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) 2019 Momentum Vocalist of the Year and IBMA’s Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year for 2020, in addition to The Price Sisters’ band nomination for Momentum Band of the Year in 2019. Lauren was also selected as a class member for IBMA’s 2020 Leadership Bluegrass Program. When she’s not on the road performing, Lauren teaches skype, in-person, and private instrumental lessons for children and adults. Since the pandemic, Lauren has taught and created content for several virtual mandolin workshops/lessons for outlets including the Monroe Mandolin Camp, The Isolationist’s Guide to Mandolin, Noya Mountain Music, Davis and Elkins College Augusta Heritage Center’s Winter Sessions, the Handmade Music School, and the Louisville Folk School.
Befriended and mentored by Bill Monroe, the acknowledged Father of Bluegrass Music, Mike Compton is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Monroe’s genre-creating mandolin style. Compton’s mastery of mandolin is at once effortless and exceptional. A compelling entertainer either alone or with a group, his skills as a singer, arranger, instrumentalist, composer and accompanist also make him in-demand as a band member and ensemble player at festivals, clubs and concert halls, recording sessions, music workshops and as a private instructor.
Compton’s decades of touring and recording with musical luminaries ranging from rockstars Sting, Gregg Allman and Elvis Costello, to straight-fro-the-still acoustic legends like John Hartford, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan, Ralph Stanley and David Grisman, have established him as a true master of the modern American mandolin and a premier interpreter of roots and Americana musical styles. With over 140 CDS in his discography, Compton has helped keep mandolin a cool, relevant sound as the modern musical styles ebb and evolve to reach an every-broadening audience.
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Compton picked up the mandolin in his teens and absorbed the area’s native blues, old-time country and bluegrass sounds. He soon gravitate to Nashville, where he helped found one of the 20th Century’s most admired and influential bluegrass groups, the iconic Nashville Bluegrass Band. He’s also been a part of the Hubert Davis Band, John Hartford Stringband, 1942, Compton & Newberry, and other seminal groups.
When A-list Americana producer T-Bone Burnett needed experts in authentic rural musical styles to anchor the landmark ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ movie project and subsequent tour, he called upon Compton’s unique knowledge and signature mandolin style to authenticate the Soggy Bottom Boys’ rootsy sound. That Grammy Award Album of the Year-winning album went on to sell seven million copies and sparked a global revival in old-time and bluegrass musical styles.
Connoisseur of hand-painted vintage silk ties, popularizer of the denim overall urban fashion statement, lover of iconic men’s hats and curator of oddball official days (ask him about National Lost Sock Memorial Day or National root Canal Appreciation Day), Mike Compton thrives at the intersection of traditional funk and modern authenticity.
Equally skilled in bluegrass, old-time string band music, country blues, roots Americana styles, and much more, Compton soars beyond easy categorization as n acoustic mandolin player and singer. Gifted at tastefully incorporating rural, roots-based learn and rhythm mandolin styles into modern Americana music, Compton’s unique musical skill set allows him to entertain audiences ranging from racers and urban hipsters to die-hard country, folk and bluegrass fans.
A mandolin master able to channel the Monroe-style playing better than anyone, Compton is a preservationist who continues teaching the music that Bill Monroe innovated, and which set the standard for generations of bluegrass mandolin players to come. For more information about Mike, visit his website at mikecompton.net