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Acoustic Guitar Masters: ROBIN BULLOCK and STEVE BAUGHMAN Appearing Sat July 29th 2017 at 8:00pm

$12 in advance
$15 at the door

Robin Bullock and 
Steve Baughman

The magnificently rich sound of two acoustic guitars conjures up the ancient musical landscapes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany in the hands of Celtic guitar masters Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock. These two virtuosos together in concert, surrounded by guitars (and the occasional cittern, mandolin or banjo) and completely relaxed with their audience, form an irresistible onstage synergy. Traditional airs, jigs and reels blend with the timeless harp compositions of Ireland’s legendary bard Turlough O’Carolan, hypnotic Breton dances, rollicking Appalachian fiddle tunes and soulful meditations from both sides of the Atlantic, as two of North America’s leading Celtic guitarists join forces to create a uniquely beautiful sonic experience.

Steve and Robin met as instructors at the Swannanoa Gathering’s Guitar Week in 2000, sat down to share a few tunes informally, immediately realized that something very special was happening, and proceeded to capture that magic on their debut duo CD Celtic Guitar Summit. Honored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine with three “Editor’s Pick” awards as one of the top CDs of the year, Celtic Guitar Summit “sheds new light on O’Carolan’s enchanting melodies and on the long history of Celtic music they inspired,” according to The Washington Post. Sing Out! hailed Celtic Guitar Summit as “a shimmering collection of haunting melodies, ringing tones and consummate musicianship,” while Dirty Linen warned that the CD was “guaranteed to lower your blood pressure. Other side effects may include uncontrollable smiling or blissful humming.”

Since then, Steve and Robin have toured as a duo whenever their schedules would allow, on both coasts of the U.S. as well as in Canada and Italy, made cameo appearances on each other’s solo CDs, and finally, in 2014, teamed up in the recording studio again for their long-awaited second CD, Alone and Together, earning five-star rave reviews from Amazon to Allmusic.

Hailed as a “Celtic guitar god” by Baltimore City Paper and “one of the best folk instrumentalists in the business” by Sing Out! Magazine, Robin Bullock is one of the preeminent acoustic music masters of our time.

His virtuosity on guitar, cittern and mandolin blends the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands, their vigorous American descendants, and the masterworks of the Baroque and Renaissance eras into one powerful musical vision. The 17th-century harp tunes of legendary Irish bard Turlough O’Carolan, the spirited jigs and reels of rural Ireland, the haunting ballads of the southern Appalachians and the timeless compositions of Bach, Dowland and Francesco da Milano all find a musical common ground in Robin’s music, where lightning-fast fingerwork one moment is perfectly balanced with tender, quiet intimacy the next. A warm, friendly presence onstage, Robin effortlessly creates a magical world for the audience with his multi-instrumental wizardry, taking them on an unforgettable journey into the deep heart’s core and through the music of the spheres.

Originally rising to prominence as a founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon (winners of the Association for Independent Music’s prestigious INDIE Award for Best Seasonal Recording), Robin’s solo career has won him three Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards (Traditional Folk Instrumentalist 1997 and 1999; Traditional Folk Recording of the Year 1998), a Player’s Choice Award from Acoustic Guitar Magazine in the Celtic guitar category, a Governor’s Award from the Maryland State Arts Council and a feature broadcast on National Public Radio’s hugely popular Celtic music program “The Thistle and Shamrock.”

His fifteen solo and collaborative recordings range from loving yet innovative interpretations of Celtic tradition, to the beloved carols and hymns of the Christmas season, to deep explorations of J.S. Bach’s incomparable masterpieces, and his many years as a leading exponent of Turlough O’Carolan’s Irish harp melodies on acoustic guitar culminated in 2015’s The Carolan Collection, a compilation CD benefiting animal rescue organizations in Robin’s home state of North Carolina. Robin also appears on The Road Home, a tribute to his late friend and collaborator Butch Baldassari, alongside such greats as David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien and the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble; his arrangements for guitar and mandolin have been featured in several of Mel Bay’s Master Anthologies, and his chamber orchestrations of traditional Celtic tunes have been performed by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society and members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Writing about Robin in The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Celtic Music, Thistle and Shamrock host Fiona Ritchie says “Bullock’s music accents the connections between Celtic and American traditional and acoustic music. That he is able to do so by playing almost any stringed instrument to perfection is his specialty.”

Robin maintains a busy international touring schedule, performing in a number of settings; though his primary focus is solo performance, he can also be heard in Celtic duos with guitarist Steve Baughman and Irish singer Aoife Clancy, as a member of the award-winning world-folk trio Helicon, as part of an Asheville-based John Denver tribute group, and most notably, as sideman with Grammy Award-winning folk icon Tom Paxton. Robin’s many years of touring with Tom have included collaborations with such luminaries as John McCutcheon, Grammy-winning songwriters Jon Vezner and Don Henry, and on their 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015 “Together at Last” tours, Tom’s fellow Grammy winner Janis Ian.

Steve Baughman is a San Francisco-based fingerstyle guitarist reknowned for his solo guitar renditions of Celtic and Appalachian tunes. His music has taken him all over the world. He has performed in Asia, Europe, Canada, and across the U.S. His travels and experiences find voice in his music. 

Steve’s passion is seeking out the old fiddle, harp, and pipe tunes, as well as old songs, and giving them a voice on the guitar, and sometimes on the old-time banjo. Steve does not seek to be an innovator, but to find the spirit and essence in the old music and present it in a way that soothes and inspires his audiences.

 He tells his students, “It is better to make tears fall than jaws drop.” Steve’s 2016 solo banjo album, O’er Quiet Lands Suspended, was featured on NPR’s Thistle and Shamrock. His CD, Farewell to Orkney, was named one of the “Best Albums of 2013” by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and his music has been played multiple times on NPR.

 His production, Clawhammer Guitar: The Collection, is on Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s list of 20 Years of Essential Acoustic Albums. Steve has written five instructional books for Mel Bay Publications, released numerous CDs and DVDs and taught over sixty guitar and banjo camps and seminars all over the U.S. and Canada for the last 15 years.