Guitar & Mandolin


Karly Dawn Milner B&WKarly Dawn Milner (Beginner Guitar) a mountain born singer and songwriter from Rowan County, Kentucky, plays guitar, banjo, dulcimer, cello and fiddle.  Currently she performs with the Possum Queens band as a solo performer and with her band- Karly Dawn & the HillFolk.  She  has performed at Merlefest, Chicago’s Old Town School Of Folk, Appalshop’s Seedtime on the Cumberland and festivals throughout the region.  Karly Dawn can be heard on her solo release- Oh Kentucky, as well as PBS’s Appalachia: Music from Home, Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook Vol.4 and Clack Mountain String Band Live. With a special penchant for teaching music to children, she spent many years working as the outreach musician for the Kentucky Folk Art Museum.


Arlo 2 (10)Arlo Barnette (Intermediate Guitar) grew up steeped in traditional music in Bath County, Kentucky and began learning guitar from none other than his fellow CCMMS instructors: Karly Dawn Milner and Don Rogers. At 12 years old, he decided to get serious about playing guitar after hearing Don play Tony Rice’s “Plastic Banana” and was soon helping him accompany square dances at the local 4-H extension office. He first attended CCMMS in 2011 and there met his wife, fiddler Zoey Barrett, a year later. In recent years he has served as a teaching assistant and offers private lessons for guitar, piano, drums, and ukulele. With a multi-instrumental education in old-time, classical, jazz, rock, and other styles, Arlo is currently a member of Zoe Speaks, Cornmaíz, and Cornbread & Tortillas, and is a producer/accompanist for Maizie Manna.


Gabe DansereauGabe Dansereau  (Advanced Guitar)  grew up in a musical family in Clay County, Kentucky.  At the age of 8, Gabe arrived at CCMMS, announced he wanted to take beginning fiddle instead of storytelling and was promptly handed a loaner fiddle and a seat in Jesse Wells’ beginner class.  From there he learned old time tunes from his mom, Suzanne, and later, guitar from his dad, Randy Wilson.   In high school he studied jazz and went on to receive a BA in Jazz Guitar Performance from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro.  He has performed his original compositions with Gentle Junior, an indie rock band and as a jazz guitarist, has performed with the Zen Poets trio, the Aaron Matson Nonet, Brandon Lee and Chad Eby. Gabe currently lives in New York City where he teaches guitar, is a freelance gigging guitarist in jazz and other musical genres, and composes.  


Don Rogers mandoDon Rogers (Intermediate Mandolin has deep roots in Kentucky old time music. His grandfather and great uncles recorded on the Gennet label in the 1930s as the Kentucky String Ticklers. Don is a versatile multi-instrumentalist and singer who performs He is a versatile multi-instrumentalist and singer who performs with The Local Honeys, Cole Chaney, Marble Creek Rangers, and his band The Apostlebillies. In addition to his passion for old Kentucky fiddle tunes, Don is also a songwriter whose work can be heard on several solo projects including his latest June Appal record, The Tiny Thread.  Don’s song “I’m a Kentuckian” is fast becoming a new state anthem.  Take a listen:



Don’t wait until Cowan Creek Mtn Music School 2024 to learn some new tunes!  Check out the instructional videos below: 

For beginners, Don Rogers gets you started on old time rhythm guitar. 

Don Rogers teaches country blues finger-picking for advanced guitar students:

Don Rogers teaches flatpicking lead on a great Snake Chapman tune in G.

Sarah Kate Morgan teaches two beginning mountain dulcimer tunes. From Sarah:  I’ve made a Dropbox folder that has the mtn dulcimer tablature for the two tunes I taught for folks if they want to print them out.  The link is

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