Linda Jean Stokley (Beginning Banjo) is a native of Woodford County, Kentucky and is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. She is a recent graduate of Morehead State University, where she earned both a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Traditional Music. After graduating she was awarded a Kentucky Folklife apprenticeship with master fiddler, Jesse Wells. She has worked in the archives at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music and drawn much of her repertoire from regional fiddle and banjo players. She performs regularly with Morehead-based group, The Local Honeys.
Brett Ratliff (Early Intermediate Banjo) grew up in the historic coal camps of Van Lear, Kentucky. Brett has toured extensively with groups such as the Clack Mountain String Band, the Dirk Powell Band, and Rich & the Po’ Folk, and as a solo artist released Cold Icy Mountain in 2008 and Gone Boy in 2017. He has also taught mountain music at numerous workshops and music camps including the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina, Augusta Heritage’s Early Country Music Week, Sore Fingers Week in Oxfordshire, England and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Washington.
John Haywood (Southeast Kentucky Banjo Styles) is an award winning artist and banjo player from Floyd County, Kentucky. He attended the Old Regular Baptist Church with his papaw, where he heard him sing the old unaccompanied songs of Zion. He was a Kentucky Folklife apprentice to George Gibson, a banjo player from Knott County and this year’s master in residence. John performs with Rich & the Po’ Folk and can be heard on their recording When the Whistle Blew. He is also a visual artist whose work represents the history and music of east Kentucky.
Jimmy McCowan (Melodic Dropthumb Banjo) is from Pond Creek in Pike County, Kentucky a musical neighborhood that included Paul Smith, Burt Hatfield and Owen ‘Snake’ Chapman. Together with his wife Ada, Jimmy has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Renfro Valley and the Carter Family Fold. Jimmy has recorded several old time CDs including Banjo the Old Time Way and From These Mountains. Jimmy has taught workshops at the Harrietville Bluegrass and Traditional Music Convention in Australia and Banjo Camp North in Massachusetts.