As a solo artist, Colin touches every emotion with his enthusiastic, high-energy, professional and artistic performance, tailored to fit any occasion, Scottish, Irish, Folk, Schools or Workshops. His captivating repertoire of Traditional Celtic-American, bluegrass and nationally acclaimed original material is delivered with his powerful tenor voice, and fiery quick guitar together with irrepressible good humor and stories. This, mixed with sing-along songs and even some unbelievable yodeling, appeals to audiences of all ages.
The Piper Jones Band has one mission: to bring spirited, magical dance tunes and songs to everyone - from Celtic music veterans to those hearing it for the first time.
The Piper Jones Band is a lyrical, high energy trio based on the moving and beautiful sounds of the Highland bagpipes, accompanied by unique percussive chords from the bouzouki and inspired drums. While maintaining a strong musical base in traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, the group also performs original instrumental compositions and powerful vocal harmonies, as well as stepping off stage from time to time to lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances. The Piper Jones Band brings authentic, traditional music to your audience in a fresh, entertaining way.
Piper EJ Jones has been performing and excelling as a performer of traditional Highland bagpipe music and folk music since he first picked up the pipes in 1987. He co-founded the renowned group Clandestine in 1991, with whom he produced five albums and won multiple awards.
Will starting touring professionally at an early age that featured multiple tours to Scotland. During those formative years he also appeared on From The Top produced by WGBH in Boston and has been featured in musical textbooks. Following those early experiences, Will joined the Celtic rock band Seven Nations touring with them for 10 years. Seven Nations was one of the first US based Celtic rock bands and has toured extensively playing festivals, sold out venues, the winter olympics in Salt Lake, and with regional symphony orchestras among many other performances throughout the US and abroad. In addition, Will toured with Nashville based singer Dakota Bradley as part of the High School Nations Tour across America.
Will continues to tour nationally and internationally with The StepCrew and The Ashley Davis. Will has toured extensively with the Ashley Davis Band across the US and in China as well. Also, Will has the honor of joining the Chieftains in their sold out shows all across North America. The Chieftains were formed in Dublin in 1962 and have been credited with bringing traditional Irish music to a worldwide audience so much so that the Irish government awarded them the title of "Ireland's Musical Ambassadors." Their renown includes a total of 6 Grammy Awards.
Equally at home in front of 40,000 cheering fans at an international festival, with the widely recognized, Grammy award winning, symphony orchestras, or with 300 fans in a small Midwest club, SEVEN NATIONS has created a truly hybrid sound and transient live show. The depth and complexity of SEVEN NATIONS' music is astounding, each listen reveals a deeper layer of intricacy that has been embraced by an ever growing audience. "We are lucky," says Kirk McLeod, lead singer/songwriter and founding member of the band, "because we come from two unique cultures. We love American pop and rock and roll, but we also love our Celtic roots. We want to touch everybody with our music," he continues, "and so far, we have been very, very fortunate."
"Seven Nations taught a crowd of nearly 10,000 one important lesson: bagpipes rock." - Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
"Explosive Seven Nations blows Palace into orbit ... you'd be hard pressed to find a more original, unique but accessible group ... powerful self-penned tunes and transcendent live shows. A musical force to be reckoned with, Seven Nations' day has come." - Albany Times-Union
"Seven Nations is blazing a new path in the "indie" music world for others to follow. Rarely has there been a CD with such variety so skillfully played, a testament to the multi-talented Seven Nations." - Brigid's Feast
"Full of hooks, addictive melodies, and precise musicianship, Seven Nations may be the next frontrunners for the summer tour feel-good band of the new millennium." - MusicBlitz
"The music was riveting ... folks were dancing in the aisles ... the cheers were deafening." - Independent Mail
"Wow, what a discovery! Each song is laden with hooks and melodies that stick in your brain, thanks to songwriter Kirk McLeod, who pens the best lyrics since Phil Lynott. This is the stuff of legends."- Chaos Realm
Frances Cunningham lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and for the last 20 years, has accompanied bagpipes, banjos, fiddlers, singers, and everyone who needed her brilliantly thought out chords behind them. She is originally from Houston, Texas, and learned to play Irish music through guitarist Lloyd Gibson and flute player Turlach Boylan at their weekly sessions at McGonigel's Mucky Duck. She went to high school at Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she studied the French horn and started playing at weekly contra dances with her friend Eden MacAdam-Somer. Frances toured the US with a Celtic rock band (SixMileBridge) in the mid-90s with her husband Sean Cunningham, who plays the flute and pipes. She discovered a talent for arranging tunes and songs together and especially for coming up with just the right chords and timing to make everyone she plays with sound great.
Frances Cunningham. Photo by J. Thomas "Jay" FordIn 2011 Frances joined the Mike Snider Band at the Grand Ole Opry and was the primary accompanist there for five years playing every weekend. In 2015 she joined the Piper Jones Band and has been touring and recording extensively with piper EJ Jones.
In 2013 Frances won the Midwest Fleadh (traditional Irish music contest) in both tenor banjo and accompaniment and was the primary accompanist in the US for Shetland fiddler Lynda Anderson.
Glen Ayr, named after a region Scotland, is a newly formed Scottish band. They share their love of Scottish music through fiddles, Scottish smallpipes, whistles, guitar, keyboards, bodhran, and singing. David Pickens hails from Lawrenceburg, TN. He plays guitar and keyboard and leads the Scottish Session at Boyd's Jig and Reel. He is a member of The Good Thymes Ceilidh Band in Knoxville. Alicia Peery has been playing fiddle since her middle school years in 1985. She grew up in Maryville and began competing in fiddle competitions at the Grandfather Mountain Scottish Highland Games in 1990. She plays a bit of whistle, bodhran, and Celtic harp. She is also a member of The Good Thymes Ceilidh Band. Rachel Schott Cosby is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky and has taught violin, fiddle, and music theory to children and families in workshops throughout the United States. She completed a dissertation on the role of fine arts participation in the lives of Appalachian college students and in 2020 was awarded a Doctor of Education Degree in Higher Education from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. She is also a member of The Bloody Tinth – named after Cincinnati’s famed all-Irish Ohio Volunteer 10th Infantry. Tracy Jenkins is a bagpiper originally from Northern Virginia. He played the Scottish Highland pipes at McLean High School and in the Washington Scottish Pipe Band before focusing on the Border pipes and the Scottish smallpipes. He currently plays with the Seán Heely Celtic Trio in Washington, D.C. Since moving to Knoxville in November 2020, Tracy has been excited to join the local Scottish music community!
Wolf Loescher feels at home in many places: behind a microphone, behind a drum kit, behind a computer keyboard; on a stage, on a boat, on a mountain; in a kilt, in sneakers and jeans, in a swimsuit; at a house concert, at a local music venue, at a large international music festival. His music reflects this.
He has also called many places home: California, Arizona, Texas, Scotland, Minnesota, and now Colorado, and each place has contributed to his musical DNA.
Over the 20 years since his last solo album, Wolf has learned many songs, heard many stories, and made many friends. Now he is ready to share them as he makes new friends, learns new stories, and sings new songs.
Some say that you have to leave home to truly appreciate it...but for Wolf Loescher, he had to leave home to find it.
Four Leaf Peat is Tennessee's premier Traditional Irish Band and has been performing locally and regionally since 2004! Traditional Irish music ranges from vibrant dance tunes to soulful songs, and Four Leaf Peat's performances are always marked by a keen sense of the tradition, mixed with just the right amount of influence from the rich musical history of East Tennessee. Four Leaf Peat's unique sound is a result of its members' various musical backgrounds, and their continued passion for traditional Irish music. By taking all of their years of musical training, and building on Irish influences like The Bothy Band, Planxty, Flying Cloud & Silly Wizard, to more modern twists on Traditional music such as Dervish, Open the Door for Three & Lunasa; Four Leaf Peat has built its own brand of Irish music which celebrates the musical bridge that spans the Atlantic.
Wild Blue Yonder was born in the year 2000 when veteran performers/songwriters Melissa Wade and Philip Coward joined forces to share their love of acoustic music with new audiences. In 2003, fiddler Cindy Wallace came on board, and the group flourished in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, producing two CDs and performing more than 50 shows a year for several years.
Phil, Melissa and Cindy each come from families who played and sang songs passed down from their Scots-Irish ancestors. With fellow band members Karen and Michael Leffel, from East Tennessee and Kentucky, Wild Blue Yonder holds a deep respect for the traditions of Appalachia. That respect and a love of history inspire the group to share the music that traveled from Celtic regions afar to the Smoky Mountains.
Michael McLeod, who began performing in 2014, is a professional level solo competitive bagpiper. He and his brother, David, have been members of numerous bands including Palmetto Pipes and Drums of Columbia, S.C., Upstate United of Clemson, S.C., and The Atlanta Pipe Band. They also perform events such as weddings, Burns' dinners, Kirkin' o' the Tartan services, parades and veterans' services, and debutante balls. Most notably, they have performed as entertainers on the Alex Beaton Stage at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games since 2015.
Kruspe is a freelance percussion instructor and bodhrán player from Huntsville, Alabama. He has performed with several groups throughout the southeastern United States, including Black Market Haggis, Mithril, Candace Corrigan, the Liminal Duo, and 2nd Breakfast, Milltowne, and The Cold Turkeys.
Andy is also active as a bodhrán teacher and clinician. He has taught at several workshops and clinics in the United States and Ireland, including The O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat (Midlothian, Texas, USA), The Fiddle and Pick Irish Music Weekend (Pegram, Tennessee, USA), Craiceann (Inis Oírr, Ireland), and Búla Buzz’s Paddy’s Buzz 2021 (Online from Portlaoise, Ireland). Andy has written four method books for the drum- First Steps: A Beginner's Guide to the Bodhrán, The Bodhrán Primer, Playing the Tune: Techniques for Accompanying Irish Traditional Music on the Bodhrán, and In Session + One (with Scottish bodhrán player Martin O’Neill).
Lona Bartlett is a professional storyteller, puppeteer and educator who has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years. Degrees in education and a small town upbringing in the Catskill Mountains provide inspiration for a long list of programs and presentations. No matter the genre, whether folktales, fairytales, puppets, or personal stories, Lona loves bringing excitement and insight to audiences at schools, libraries, conferences, festivals, corporate gatherings and special events.
The O’Kennessee Strings student group of instructor, Conny Ottway started in Murray, Kentucky in 1995, performing for the Western Kentucky Scottish Highland Games and the local Robert Burns Dinners. Because the string players were from both KY and TN, the name was chosen to reflect that fact. In 2009, Conny moved to Knoxville and started up the O’Kennessee Strings again, the first performance was the 2010 Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games.
From Conny Ottway:"Coming from a family of music teachers and musicians, I have been very involved with music all of my life. I have enjoyed teaching music lessons to all ages; the youngest I've taught was my own daughter, who was 23 months old when she began, and the oldest I've taught was an 86-year-old gentleman. My belief is that music should be enjoyed and shared, so I have tried to organize an average of 10-12 performance opportunities for my students each year. Entering competitions in the classical and traditional music worlds is a great motivator for my students, and I try to encourage them to enter as many as possible. I'm proud to report that I've had many students win competitions, be proficient songwriters, and even obtain college degrees in music.
Judy Larkin, “The Tea Lady”, does more than talk about tea. She is a first-rate entertainer as well as a scholar. Her training isn’t limited to books and classes. She has studied tea production in Sri Lanka, India, China and most recently Nepal.
Whether taking you back in time to learn the historical aspects of tea starting in the Victorian era to the present day or learning about “taking tea” in many cultures, Judy is at home in the world of tea— and her audiences feel at home too.
Whether new to tea or a long-time aficionado, her programs will ensure you leave well-informed and entertained too.
Bob Valentine will again be our Master of Ceremonies at the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games. If you have seen him perform - then you know why we keep asking him back! If you haven't seen him - don't miss him! Whether it’s an intimate Burns Supper or a huge festival, Bob will keep you entertained with his jokes, songs, and unique (and often times warped) view of life.
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter is an agricultural blogger and video blogger (vlogger) by day and an historical botanist by night. Her vast knowledge is an accumulation of life experiences and Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education, with a minor in biology from Purdue University, along with a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Louisville. A new approach to gardening is the field of historical botany combining ethnobotany and gardening with a story. Utilizing her educational background, Mindy has found an interesting and intriguing way of reaching history lovers, gardeners, and the famous Outlander fans.
Currently, she has written three books, which include The Unofficial Outlander Book Of Herbs, Unofficial Guide to Outlandishly Outlander Landscape Designs, and her newest book The Unofficial Outlander Book Of Herbs II. While each book is different and covers different Outlander books, all of them allow you to learn how to “garden like an Outlander thru space and thyme.”
If you would like to contact her, check out the Outlander Botanist YouTube channel, Facebook and/or Twitter. You can also find additional information about the books and upcoming events on the Outlander Botanist website.
LINK FOR PURCHASING BOOKS
Bruce was born and raised in southern lower Michigan but spent most of his working life in Houston, Texas, as an engineer in the oil \ chemical industry. He has always been an avid crafter.
When he retired in 2006, He decided to look in to basket making as a hobby. Bruce took a few courses in the Houston area, and he ordered a number of kits from the Internet. Over the last ten years, Bruce has tried making nearly every type of basket. He now enjoys making Appalachian rib baskets and Cherokee twill baskets. He also enjoys light wood working, genealogy, travel, and reading non fiction.
In 2009 Denise and Bruce moved to Maryville, TN. He started the to pursue basket making as a serious hobby. His wife and best friend, Denise Robertson live in Maryville, TN, with two nearly perfect cats. They are members of the local Odds and Ends basket guild, and enjoy attending other states' basket conventions. Bruce is a past president of the Tennessee Basketry Association.
Mike Clem, Andy Kruspe, and Garrett Smith have been playing Celtic music together in one form or another since 2010. During this time, they kept a running tab of cool band names and even better album names. When it came time to form a trio, "Black Market Haggis" became the clear choice for a band name. So they did what every new band should do when starting out- they searched their band name on the internet to see if it had already been taken. Predictably, no band has ever used that moniker. However, they did find that there is a demand for such a product since the USDA will not allow real haggis in the United States.
Then in the fall of 2015, the band lucked out. The band had been looking for vocalist, and Chenoa Clark's schedule was finally able to accommodate our musical shenanigans. She joined the band, and the boys have had to watch their language ever since."
Featuring award winning instrumentalists and dancers, the Celtic Martins from Southeastern Pennsylvania have been entertaining audiences for well over a decade with their high energy, fiddle driven Celtic music and Irish dance. Their creative upbeat arrangements based on original and centuries-old traditional Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, French Canadian, and Americana tunes, are joyful and infectious, leaving listeners with both a sense of satisfaction and a desire for more. Their shows also feature Irish step dancing by the Martin sisters, always a crowd favorite.
The Celtic Martins is truly a family band. The six Martin siblings each began their musical career with the fiddle around the tender age of 5, branching out over time to other instruments, including Irish whistles, bagpipes, guitar, accordion, cello, percussion and vocals. They are joined by their parents and brother-in-law on guitar, bass and drums. The Celtic Martins have been performing since 2004 and have quickly became a musical sensation, appearing nationwide at various festivals, theaters and other venues such as the Bethlehem Music Fest, Smoky Mountain Highland Games, the Kutztown Folk Festival, Bitterroot Valley Highland Games, and more.
Highland Reign, an international touring Scots American Folk Rock Band from Indianapolis, takes the tunes of the old country and breathes a rocking new life into them!
With traditionals such as "American Stranger", originals like "Carry On" and "The Streets of Edinburgh ", and many many more, Highland Reign has become one of America's favorite Scottish Folk Rock Bands!
With over 20,000 CDs sold, the new CD, "JACOBITE", is now available! This CD has the trademark upbeat vocals, lilting Scots Irish fiddle , catchy lyrics, and bagpipes/guitars!! Many of the songs were written while on their tour of Scotland/Ireland! Highland reign appears at venues and festivals all across America , Scotland and Ireland!
With wailing bagpipes/guitar tunes, lilting fiddles, and upbeat vocals, Highland reign will rock you back to the old country!!!
MacGilliossa is a Florida-based Scottish/Celtic influenced, national touring band playing a mix of traditional songs and tunes and their own original compositions.
Featuring guitars, drums, bagpipes, the fiddle, bodhran, bouzouki and whistle, MacGilliossa are crowd-pleasing, high energy performers led by Scottish immigrant, champion bagpiper, singer/songwriter Paul Macleish, Kathryn Parker on fiddle and bass guitar, Dominick Mandano on percussion and KT Scott on bagpipes and Irish whistle.
Seven to the Sea hails from Nashville, Tennessee. Their music is a blend of what they've heard and enjoyed all of their lives: styles that run the gamut from bluegrass to folk, Celtic, and rock. They've taken the best of what excites them musically.
Seven to the Sea grew out of the Nashville Celtic music scene of the early 2000's. Travis Johnson and Tom Saffell played together on numerous occasions before coming together to produce a debut album as The Fells: "A Moral There Must Surely Be." With fiddler Jennifer Halenar, The Fells found regional success and toured regularly throughout the southeast.
After Jennifer's departure, they re-christened themselves "Seven to the Sea," and embarked on a somewhat different musical direction, allowing latent influences from far-flung styles to enter into their songwriting. The result is the current EP, "Above & Below - Part 1," which was released on July 1, 2017.
At this point, their goal is to build upon their past successes, with highlights such as opening for Alison Krauss and appearing on Music City Roots.
John Miles is a retired US Marine Corps Officer and former college professor that now delivers lectures on Scottish history and other historical topics to groups. I have presented lectures to multiple Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festivals throughout the U.S.
John Miles was previously or is presently a member of Clan Gillean USA, Clan Donnachaidh USA, The Scottish American Military Society (SAMS), Scottish American Society Palm Beach, FL, the St. Andrew's Society of Albany, NY, the Scottish American Society of Tidewater, VA, and the Robert Burns Society of the Midlands, SC.
John Miles volunteers as a guest history lecturer at the Vermont Veterans' Home and has spoken to the Vermont Governor's Veterans' Education Committee (GVEC). In addition to the highland games and veteran's organizations, John also gives historical presentations at multiple Assisted Living Facilities and libraries in South Carolina.
John received a Master’s degree in Military Studies (military history) from American Military University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in History from Texas A&M University.
John Miles is a six-time published author in Marine Corps Gazette, the professional journal of the Marine Corps. His article on Highland Regiments service in North America was published by Scots Heritage Magazine in its Spring 2017 edition. His article on Martial Bagpiping was published by Pipes & Drums in its’ July 2017 edition. Additionally, the magazine History Scotland recently published his article online Iconic Songs of World War One sung by Scottish Singers.
“Give me a stage, and I will entertain you,” has been Marci Salyer Nimick’s credo ever since she was old enough to know what that means. Couple that with her belief that all the world is indeed a stage, and you will understand why her friends and fans have dubbed her Marci the Entertainer.
When you see a Marci the Entertainer show, you never know what you will get—stories, music, poetry, dancing. The only thing you can predict is unpredictability. Marci’s lively performances take her audiences on journeys from the soul-searchingly profound to the toe-tappingly upbeat to the humorously irreverent. Marci wears her Appalachian roots, her 1980’s rocker fashion, her quick wit and her sentimental spirit as badges of honor. She knows exactly who she is and exactly how she got that way.
Marci was born to the bluegrass music stage. She grew up on the road with her father, South Salyer, who is a member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. She had her first paying gig more than 30 years ago at age 13. In the years since, Marci has been simultaneously living out all of her performance dreams—from the college classroom to the keynote speaker podium to the Opry spotlight to the International Storytelling Center stage.
Marci’s love of words and their power to affect audiences led her to a life of writing and performing. A prolific bluegrass songwriter, Marci also writes blues, country, swing, jazz, and alternative rock. However, her songs and her performances are always under the influence of grass—bluegrass, that is. Bluegrass Unlimited, the premier bluegrass music magazine, hails Marci as a creative singer and songwriter. “Marci’s got the charm and delivery that audiences want,” says Mike Dunbar, Nashville promoter, host, producer, and songwriter. “Her music is bluegrass that’s bluesy and sassy, and her lyrics are entertaining and thoughtful.”
Marci always was a storyteller; she just didn’t know that storytelling was a “thing”. After years of calling herself a singer-songwriter, a musician, a professor and a professional speaker who used stories to enhance her music and to engage students and conventioneers, Marci began calling herself a storyteller who uses everything she must touch people. Marci tells stories with her whole body, her whole soul and her whole heart. In fact, a line from one of her songs says, “I tear my heart out every night and leave it on the stage.”
Marci’s bubbly, upbeat, optimistic and always entertaining personality makes her a standout on any stage. You could call Marci Salyer Nimick a singer, a songwriter, a musician, a storyteller, a speaker, a buck dancer, a humorist, an actor, or you can simply call her Marci the Entertainer.
This band is one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts that seemingly can't get better...yet continue to do just that.