Will Kimble

Kimble mandolins are custom made tools for acoustic musicians. Each mandolin is carefully crafted by hand based on input regarding tone, feeling, aesthetics. There are no standard models or trim levels. Excellent workmanship is key to great sounding mandolins.  Will started building mandolins in 2000.  Taught by his father, Fred Kimble, they still work side by side building instruments.

Alan Munde

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.

Mississippi Chris Sharp

MS-ChrisSinger/Songwriter and Silver Wolf Records recording artist, Mississippi Chris Sharp was born under the influence and musical heritage of Jimmie Rodgers in Meridian, Mississippi—their shared home town.

He was an original cast member and technical/post-production producer on the the long-runnng Sucarnochee Revue, a live-music variety show featured on Mississippi and Alabama Public Radio and Television. In addition to hosting on other radio stations around the country, he worked the stage with his Jang-A-Lang String Band, a funky mix of old country, country blues, bluegrass and original music for over a decade.

His latest CD, Redbugs, on the Silver Wolf label, features live recordings from the stage of The Sucarnochee Revue.

Mississippi Chris is currently performing with his daughter, Piper, playing original music and reviving brother duets they both love—The Monroes, Louvins, Delmores—and exploring the joys of family duet harmony from their home in Porterville, Mississippi.

Paul Duff

Paul DuffAfter building his first mandolin in 1982, Paul became fascinated with the array and diversity of skills, many from a bygone era, required to successfully build a mandolin. In the almost three decades since, he has been focused on refining, developing and applying these skills to his one true passion; the mandolin family of instruments produced by Gibson in the 1920s.

Paul’s love of bluegrass music drew him automatically to the F5 mandolin of Bill Monroe both musically and from a luthier’s perspective. The first mandolin he ever built was an F5 model like Monroe’s, a difficult undertaking as any builder will tell you. His attention has since broadened to other instruments from this ‘Golden Era’, also known as the ‘Loar Period’. Paul now includes mandolas, mandocellos and archtop guitars in his inventory of models offered to customers.

The inspiration derived from the truly successful, spectacular instruments of this ‘Loar Period’ is what drives Paul to spend each day ‘at the bench.’ He is a hands-on kind of builder. He doesn’t use a CNC carving machine but does have a hand operated pantograph router. This allows him to save himself for the important hand carving of the top and back plate. Paul would rather master the art of the various skill sets rather than outsource them. Consequently, his instruments are adorned with hand cut pearl and abalone inlays, colored sunbursts are applied by hand and of course, they are french polished. You can find out more information about Paul on his website at duffmandolins.com. Better yet, stop by and order a custom made mandolin!

Raymond Huffmaster

Raymond HuffmasterA guitar rhythm hoss who played with the Osborne Brothers, Raymond Huffmaster also was friends with Monroe, Baker and the Blue Grass Boys. A man with a heart the size of the sun, Raymond will sit and pick a tune with you, tell you stories lived at Bean Blossom with Monroe, Baker and the Boys, and back you up like nobody’s business. We are proud to have Raymond with us.

Chris Henry

Chris300Christopher 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)

Lauren Price

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 those instructing at the Monroe Mandolin Camp and 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.

Mike Compton, Director

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