Friends of Harmony Hall
~ Jacob Sloat House ~
The Jeff Scroggins Band
We are thrilled to welcome banjo-great Jeff Scroggins back to the Ramapo Highlands this year, and Jeff has put together a band that is guaranteed to rock the festival stage, including Martha Trachtenberg and Danny Weiss on guitar, Barry Mitterhoff on mandolin, and Larry Cohen on base.
Jeff Scroggins was fortunate to have the
opportunity to learn from banjo legend
Alan Munde. After relocating to Dallas, he
studied with the great James McKinney,
winning numerous banjo contests including
the prestigious National Bluegrass Banjo
Championship in Winfield, Kansas in
September, 1989. A year or so later, Jeff
became a founding member of the Andy
Owens Project, playing banjo on Andy's
first CD, "Kerosene Circuit", which was
produced by Grammy winner Bill VornDick.
The band recorded two more critically
acclaimed CDs, "Real Music" (1993) and
"One Eye Open" (1996), and performed
throughout the early and mid-1990s, touring Russia in 1994 and Japan in 1996. While living in Texas, Jeff was inducted into the Texas Tornadoes, an elite music society whose membership includes many Texas music legends, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Winter and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). For more than 10 years, Jeff turned his focus to his young family, performing in local and regional bands while living and working in Kansas and New Mexico. The most notable of these bands were the Colorado-based Blue Canyon Boys and the Wichita-based Big Twang, which featured former Dixie Chick Robin Macy, Troy Gilchrist, Kenny White and Darren Wilcox. In 2008, Jeff recorded his first CD, “Five Strings, Four Corners," featuring his 13-year-old son Tristan, who was quickly becoming an excellent mandolin player. In 2009, Jeff and Tristan relocated to the Front Range of Colorado, forming Jeff Scroggins and Colorado in 2011. Throughout his career, Jeff has performed and recorded with the top names in Bluegrass, including Steve Kaufman, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Mark Schatz, David Grier, Jerry Douglas, Beppe Gambetta, David Peterson, Randy Howard, David Harvey, Kenny Smith and The Dixie Chicks.
Martha Trachtenberg, who is happily married to musician and producer Tom Griffith, is a prolific singer/songwriter and a renowned guitarist. She was a founding member of the genre’s first all-woman Bluegrass band, The Buffalo Gals, and has had her songs recorded by Bluegrass legends that include Tony Trishka and Skyline, Missy Raines, Jim Hurst, Kathy Chiavola and Dede Wyland.
Danny Weiss and his double-edged talent as a guitarist and singer have made him sought after by many of Bluegrass music’s top performers. Weiss, together with Barry Mitterhoff, Larry Cohen and banjoist Tony Trischka, was a founding member of the pioneering “new-grass” band Skyline, and he has appeared with Bluegrass favorites Tex Logan, Vasser Clements and David Bromberg. His great sound and unique soloing have been recognized by “Frets” magazine, and has been featured in the 2002 soundtrack to Disney's “The Rookie.” He has been featured in concerts and workshops nationally and internationally. When he’s not strumming on-stage or as a teaching artist, Danny is moonlighting as the Director of New Jersey’s Fanwood Memorial Library.
Barry Mitterhoff has developed an international reputation for his versatility on the mandolin, where he has mastered musical styles as diverse as Bluegrass, opera, Jewish klezmer, Dixieland, old-time, classical, Brazilian, Italian and 19th-century American duo styles. Barry is currently an active member of Hot Tuna, and has performed with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and banjoist Tony Trischka. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera with renowned singer Jerry Hadley, played and recorded with folk-singer Tom Chapin, and appeared at the Smithsonian Institute and elsewhere with hard-hitting singer, songwriter and labor activist Hazel Dickens, and with innovative "free" music composer Eugene Chadborn at New York City’s Knitting Factory. During his wide and varied career, Barry has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, the White House, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York’s famous Rainbow Room, and has performed in concert and at music festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Europe. He's also contributed music to the scores of films, including You've Got Mail, Mickey Blue Eyes, Two Family House, and the Cohen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou.
Larry Cohen is well-known in Bluegrass circles as a monster bass player, arranger and record producer. First earning public recognition for his groundbreaking work with Skyline, Larry has gone on to produce innovative acoustic albums for Barry Mitterhoff, Jay Ansel and Akira Satake, and performed with Nick Jamison, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall. A joy to watch and listen to on-stage, Larry’s approach to Bluegrass is informed by his background in classical, jazz, and rock music, and by his innate musicality.
The Eric Escoffery Band
The Eric Escoffery Band will provide a surprising
glimpse into late rock legend Jerry Garcia of
The Grateful Dead, who collaborated with
Bluegrass mandolin-great David Grisman in an
acoustic and vocal tribute to the roots of
modern American popular music at one point
during his storied career. Eric steps into
Garcia's role in a performance that will feature
talented local Bluegrass artists as they pay
tribute to Garcia's talent and his collaboration
with Grisman. This will not surprise Eric's fans,
who know him as the singer/guitarist of the
popular North Jersey/New York Grateful Dead
tribute band, Dead on the Tracks.
Dogs Like Us
Dogs Like Us are an eclectic and entertaining
string band based in New Jersey. Offering a
surprising set-list of Americana from tradition
folk to Bluegrass to a rock tune or two, the
band returns for an encore appearance at the
Highlands Bluegrass Festival this year by
The Moonshine Creek Band
The Moonshine Creek Bluegrass Band is a high-
energy string band out of New York’s Hudson
Valley that keeps true to its Bluegrass roots
while expanding traditional boundaries with
warm vocal harmonies, tight picking and driving
sound. They will be sure to keep you moving!
Band members include Peter Carr on banjo, Teddy
Hiller on guitar, Tom Casano on mandolin, Rich
Krasco on bass, Marty Zybura on harp and Dave
Gerszberg on fiddle.
Friends of Harmony Hall - Jacob Sloat House
PO Box 293, 15 Liberty Rock Road, Sloatburg, NY 10974 (845) 712-5220