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Richie Stearns


He’s been described as one of the major innovators of 5-string banjo playing, a wonderfully idiosyncratic musician. Fellow musician Tony Trischka calls him“a transcendentally clawhammering force of nature” and Bela Fleck says simply, "Richie is a wonderful musician. I love his mantra-groove spooky-banjo style." For Natalie Merchant, it’s his ability to blend traditional technique and repertoire with contemporary and original material that sets him apart: says Natalie, “I have been amazed by Richie Stearns’ musicianship…the banjo in his hands can become either a hypnotic weapon of propulsion or the source of some of the most soulful and plaintive sounds I have ever heard."

Richie has traveled round the world, performing both traditional and his own original music, finding ways to collaborate with musicians from five continents (Africa/Asia/North America, Australia, Europe) as well as local musicians from diverse musical backgrounds (classical, jazz, country, R&B, and more).  Over the past three decades, he’s performed with The Horse Flies, Evil City String Band, Ti Ti Chickapea, Donna the Buffalo, the Renegades, and Richie & Rosie among others.

Richie will be teaching on Friday afternoon and performing with Richie and Rosie and other faculty at the Friday evening show.  One workshop will focus on learning the clawhammer style for less experienced players and the second, for more advanced players, on developing your own voice on the banjo, exploring rhythm, the groove, and accompanying singers among other topics.


Richie will be teaching on Friday  afternoon, January 12.

Old Time Banjo (Advanced Beginner/Intermediate
): Richie will teach an advanced beginner/intermediate old-time banjo class

Old Time Banjo (Intermediate/Advanced): Developing your own voice on the banjo.  Explore and develop different rhythmic and melodic patterns.  Accompanying singers with the banjo. 

Old-Time Fiddle and Banjo (All Levels): Richie and Rosie Newton will talk about the relationship between the fiddle and banjo. We will teach a tune and talk about the different ways the banjo and fiddle can play around with the tune in a conversation between the two instruments.