Golosa

The Golosa Choir have been performing for over 20-years, having their anniversary in 2017. They are Chicago’s one and only Russian choir. The choir plays sacred and Russian folk songs in cappella form and perform all year long throughout the Chicago area. Golosa Choir is supervised by Artistic Directors Noel Taylor and Tamara Ghattas. They have traveled to Siberia twice and studied with Sud’binushka, which is one of the composers that changed Noel Taylor’s (founder) life.

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Donna Herula

Herula is a Chicago-born acoustic blues guitarist and singer who has a passion for Delta, country, and Chicago Blues. Highly known for playing the resonator guitar. She was named as one of the “top 10 up and coming resonator guitar players” by Guitar Magazine. Donna regularly performs at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and has opened for Buddy Guy several of times. She is also a teacher at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

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Bau Graves

Bau Graves is Executive Director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, in Chicago, Illinois, the largest community school of the arts in the United States, and among the most active concert presenters in the Midwest.  During his tenure, the School has continued its remarkable expansion, opening a new, $17 million, technologically-advanced, acoustically-engineered, LEED gold-certified arts education facility in 2012. Bau Graves is the past Director of the Jefferson Center Foundation, in Roanoke, Virginia, and co-founder of the Center for Cultural Exchange in Maine, where he facilitated the creation of an extended series of programs in close collaboration with ethnic community groups and artists.  Bau’s work as a field researcher, arts presenter, community organizer, festival director, tour manager, recording and radio producer has been prolific, winning numerous awards.  He has performed and recorded with several jazz and traditional music ensembles, and toured extensively, both in the US and abroad.  He holds a Masters degree in ethnomusicology from Tufts University, has published essays concerning cultural issues in both the academic and popular press, and has appeared on and/or produced numerous recordings.  Bau Graves’ book about the arts and community, Cultural Democracy, was published in 2005 by the University of Illinois Press. 

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Skip Landt and Strictly Jugnuts

Strictly Jug Nuts was organized in 2008 by long-time Old Town School teacher Skip Landt. The band includes key members of the jug band that won the 25th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands in Minnesota in 2007 and others whose music appears on collections and CDs including Jugs Across America, Hare of the Jug, Good For What Ail's Ya, and the Old Town School Songbook Collection.

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Colby Maddox

Colby moved to Chicago in 1995 to work and travel with The Special Consensus bluegrass band. He rubbed elbows and shared the stage with many of his heroes like Tim O’Brien, Scott Nygaard, Sally Van Meter, Laurie Lewis, Slavek Hanzlik, J.D. Crowe and John Hartford. Along the way Colby studied fiddle with Missouri State Champion Charlie Walden and played for a short time in a duo with young banjo wizard Noam Pikelny.

In 1999 Colby moved on to teaching at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and managing the teaching collection of books and recordings and concert archive at the School.  Colby also discusses, and plays from, the new Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook.

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Dave Bragman

David G. Bragman teaches banjo, guitar, singing, and sound recording. He has been on the staff of the Old Town School for almost 20 years and started studying at the school in 1971. David performs with Brushfire, the Dime Store String Band, David & Marian, and many other bands. He runs Schu-Man Studios and is a radio host at WLUW 88.7 fm.

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Jason McInnes

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Jason McInnes uses his guitar and banjo to support his reinterpretation of folk traditions. His songs and stories are powerful, yet tender; uniquely his, yet as old as time. He has been a faculty member at the nationally recognized Old Town School of Folk Music since 2003, where he has created several programs to support multi-generational music-making.  Jason founded the Young Stracke All-Stars in 2008, which consists of young musicians ages 9 to 13.  The group is named after children’s music and education pioneer, Win Stracke.  Jason founded the group to provide a link between master musicians of the past and young audiences of today.

Steve Dawson

One of the most underrated songwriters in American music, Chicago-native Steve Dawson has been helming influential rock band Dolly Varden since the early ’90s, producing humane and hooky solo records, collaborating with his wife Diane Christiansen and digging into soul on side projects. His newest venture is Funeral Bonsai Wedding, a jazz-folk collaboration that flashes with the vibraphone of Jason Adasiewicz on impressionistic but memorable arrangements that recall the best of Tim Buckley or Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison. Those may seem like lofty notices, but Dawson has a way with melody and image that live up to them.

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Bucky Halker

"Bucky" Halker is an American academic, music historian, labor activist, singer and songwriter who specializes in American folk music. Halker is best known for his work on labor protest songs, Illinois folk music, and his involvement with the preservation of Woody Guthrie's musical legacy. He is a recipient of the American Folklife Center's Archie Green Fellowship.

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Mark Dvorak

Mark Dvorak is a modern day troubadour who has never stopped performing, writing and recording. He has been called "a folk singer's folk singer" with an "encyclopedic knowledge of traditional songs." His song writing has been called "wondrous" and "profound."

Since 1981, Mark has performed in nearly all the United States, and has visited several countries in Europe. Though he often appears on festival stages and in theaters, he is also at home in a more intimate setting. 

His concerts are a mix of the familiar and the new, traditional folk and standards from the American songbook. He plays authentic country blues guitar and picks great old-time banjo. Mark enjoys involving his audiences in sing-along songs, just like The Weavers used to do, and he mixes in his own well-crafted and often poignant originals. 

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Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen grew up in a house with a piano and a lot of Dixieland Jazz records, amplified after a while by a cornet that his dad got him. At about fifteen, he got bitten by the Folk Music bug, and soon got to hear records by Big Bill Broonzy and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, both of which reminded him of the music he grew up to. At sixteen, he saw Reverend Gary Davis, and his course was set. He knew he had it in him to follow, study, perform and promote the music of the southeast quadrant, America’s great musical fountainhead. Although he’s done other things, a certain amount of writing and physical labor, from dishwashing and railroading to archeology, playing the old tunes is what he does best.  This interview/performance was attended a well-sized and appreciative crowd of old friends and admirers.

Old Lazarus Harp

Old Lazarus' Harp is a collective of some of the best folk acts in Chicago: Spitzer Space Telescope, Can I Get An Amen, Glass Mountain, Honey Hole Johnson and their friends. Every OLH show is a fiery resurrection of traditional folk songs. Covering everything from old time fiddle tunes to medieval ballads, Old Lazarus' Harp keeps folk music raw, wild and raucous. We interview three members: Mareva Lindo, Emily Nott, and Spitzer Space Telescope.

The Pickin' Bubs

The Pickin' Bubs (Peggy Browning, Maura Lally and Mark Mitchell) are a Chicago acoustic trio whose sound is rooted in traditional music, from country blues, to gospel, to old time and folk ballads and carried on in the originals penned by the Pickin' Bubs and the songwriters they enjoy.  They focus on vocal and instrumental arrangements on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo.  All of the members of the band are instructors at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music where they carry out the tradition of making good music with one another and the folks they are fortunate enough to teach.

Jonas Friddle

Jonas Friddle is a North Carolina native with a history in the Appalachian music tradition and is an experienced performer on the Guitar, Banjo, Fiddle and Mandolin. After graduating from Berea College he spent a year abroad as a Watson Fellow studying community building through traditional music in Ireland, Scotland, Australia and Canada. He performs professionally with his group Jonas Friddle and the Majority (www.jonasfriddle.com).

Chris Walz

Nationally acclaimed bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Chris Walz combines a joy of performing with a reverence for America’s musical story. Chris perfected his Scruggs-style banjo playing and guitar flatpicking at a young age as he diligently studied all his musical heroes from Pete Seeger to Mississippi John Hurt to Woody Guthrie to Dave Van Ronk. Whether it is his lightning speed on the banjo’s fretboard, his hard hitting grooves on the guitar or his tender melodic touch on the mandolin, Chris delivers a fulfilling performance. To top it off, Chris is an extraordinary singer, using his rich voice to buoy up a traditional ballad, a unique original composition, or a rousing ‘tear down the house’ bluegrass medley. His many years touring with bluegrass, Grammy nominated Special Consensus, honed his group and solo prowess. A natural born storyteller, Chris has a masterful presence as he weaves his songs and remembrances, one to the next, into a night of music that is not easily forgotten. Chris is a gifted and much sought after teacher at the historic Old Town School of Folk Music and spreads his knowledge and love of music in each community he plays in with well-polished workshops. A rare combination of past and present, Chris is playing music for the future.

Ed Holstein

Ed Holstein has been a stalwart of the Chicago folk music scene for over 40 years. He has written a number of songs including “Jazzman” which have been recorded or performed by the likes of Bette Midler, Bonnie Koloc, Tom Rush, Steve Goodman, and Martin Simpson. He is also a featured performer on the Grammy-winning album Tribute to Steve Goodman. His unique blend of folk songs, blues and humor always entertain. 

In the early days of the Chicago Folk Boom Eddie and his late brother Fred performed at legendary clubs like The Earl Of Old Town and Somebody Else’s Troubles where folks like Goodman, John Prine, Bonnie Koloc & others got their start. The Holstein brothers owned a self named club that featured national touring acts until the late ‘80s.

Paul Tyler

After twenty-plus years at the Old Town School, Paul Tyler, a country boy from Indiana, has gradually become a Chicagoan. He plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar in the Fantastic Toe Trippers Orchestra and the Fly Boys, the band behind the WAZO County Warblers. Previously, he did a long stint with the Volo Bogtrotters, one of the foremost old-time string bands of the 1990s. Their CD, "Old Time String Band with Vocal Accompaniment" on Marimac Recordings received great acclaim across North America. Prior performing credits include Lotus Dickey & Friends, an ensemble player in "As You Like It" at the Goodman Theater; "All Jump Up" for Urban Gateways and "The Sugar Hill Serenades" for Young Audiences of Indiana. He has also called old-time square dances in twenty-five states.


Besides teaching fiddle and early country music at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Paul is an folklorist and ethnomusicologist. He is currently a lecturer in anthropology at Chicago State University. His “The Rise of Rural Rhythm” is the lead essay in The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance. He was co-producer and author for Folk Songs of Illinois #2: Fiddlers. (Both publications are available from the University of Illinois Press.) He has worked as a free-lance researcher and documentarian for institutions ranging from Indiana University Archives of Traditional Music to the Tarble Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University to the David Adler Cultural Center in Libertyville and the Wyoming Arts Foundation.

Congress of Startlings

Chicago-based Congress of Starlings progressive folk-rock fills the room with fun energy, magical lyrics, stellar harmonies, and challenging reflections on nature, gender, and humanity. Aerin Tedesco and Andrea Bunch have been entertaining midwest and east coast audiences for over a decade at folk, rock and college clubs.