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Adam Hurt

Old Time Banjo

A respected performer and teacher of traditional music, Adam has played at the Kennedy Center and conducted banjo workshops at many venues around the country and abroad. Adam has placed in or won most of the major old-time banjo competitions including Clifftop, Mount Airy, and Galax, and won the state banjo championships of Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio, as well as the state fiddle championships of Virginia and Maryland. In 2006, Adam released his second CD, Insight, on the Ubiquitone label. This recording highlights Adam's innovative banjo playing both in solo settings and with accompaniment by Cathy Fink, Beth Williams Hartness, Marcy Marxer, and Jarred Nutter. Following up on the success of Insight, Adam spent a year refining and recording new material for his third CD, Perspective, which was released in the summer of 2009. The focus is once again on Adam's highly individual clawhammer banjo arrangements of traditional music. In 2010, Adam collaborated with luthier David Hyatt and musician and recording engineer Paul Roberts to create Earth Tones, a solo CD of compelling music played exclusively on the gourd banjo. This project has received critical acclaim from the banjo community as something altogether new and different, both among Adam's own recorded work and among the greater catalogue of old-time banjo recordings. Most recently, Adam joined forces with his regular music partner Beth Williams Hartness on Fine Times at Our House, a CD of old-time duets featuring Adam's clawhammer banjo and fiddle along with Beth's signature fingerstyle guitar. Beth will join Adam at Falling Waters, performing and assisting at workshops.


Adam will teach 6 of 8 of the following sessions. To be determined.

Review of Clawhammer Basics (advanced beginner/intermediate): brush up on the right- and left-hand fundamentals from the basic clawhammer rhythm to drop-thumb, pull-offs, hammer-ons, and slides through a series of fun exercises.

Mapping the Fingerboard for Strong and Efficient Note Locations (advanced beginner/intermediate): locate the relevant major scales in the double-C and open-G tunings and in the process develop the most efficient left-hand roadmap for playing in these tunings.

Dressing Up Simple Tunes (advanced beginner/intermediate): take a skeletal version of a tune and learn to add "connective tissue" notes and moves to create a more musical and fully-realized version of the same tune.

Understanding the Structure of Old-Time Fiddle Tunes and How This Helps Your Playing (all levels): fiddle tunes are often structured in predictable ways; the sooner you recognize repeating patterns, the faster you will be able to learn and play new tunes, including on the fly in jam sessions! Note: this will not be a hands-on tune-learning class but instead will involve lots of listening and discussion.

Be the Banjo Player in the Old-Time Trio (all levels?? or pick whichever level you deem appropriate): join Adam on fiddle and Beth on guitar and play a tune of your choice, at your preferred tempo, in a non-threatening environment with lots of feedback and suggestions on how to make these collaborations as successful as possible.

Introduction to "Sandy River Belle" Tuning (intermediate/advanced): learn the roadmap to this beautiful and traditional alternate tuning for the key of G: gEADE. 

The Round Peak Clawhammer Style of Tommy Jarrell (intermediate/advanced): learn a tune or two from the repertoire of this Surry County, North Carolina source musician and some of his characteristic techniques that can dress up other tunes already in your repertoire.

Introduction to Clawhammer Syncopation (intermediate/advanced): break out of the usual rhythmic boxes associated with clawhammer banjo and learn some syncopated patterns that will enhance any tune in your repertoire.