Guitar 1, Raw Beginning: Pete Kosky, grew up learning traditional music in the Kanawha Valley. He began playing guitar at age 11. His early musical influences were country singers Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, Gordon Lightfoot, and especially WV’s David Morris. Pete’s interest in traditional ballads naturally led to songwriting, and he won 5th place at the 1st Annual Mountain Stage New Song Festival. He has taught workshops at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival and songwriting workshops for Allegheny Echoes. Pete has won several awards over the years. This class will happily progress very slowly.
Guitar 2-Back-up: Patrick Shields was an early baby boomer. Born in Illinois in 1942, he was raised in Georgia. Pat moved to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in 1964 and to a farm in Keyser, W.Va. in 1973. He became a Musician in Residence for the West Virginia Arts and Humanities Council in 1976 in Braxton County, and in Mineral County in 1978. In this capacity he was fortunate to play with West Virginia greats Melvin Wine, Sloan Staggs, Andy Boarman, Woody Simmons, Wilson Douglas, Phoebe Parsons and many others. His early influences John and Robert Lancaster, Mabel Carter, Gene Meade, Riley Puckett, and Rodney Dillard gave him the inspiration to stay strictly with backup guitar work. Pat’s approach to the guitar in old-time music is simple: fill the holes, add the bass, use a varied chord pattern, use appropriate runs, don’t be afraid to experiment, try not to play the tune the same way twice, and put the power in it.
Guitar 3 Intermediate: Eastern Kentucky native Don Rigsby discovered bluegrass music early in life, nurturing his interest through Ralph Stanley records and hanging out with two of Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys, Ricky Skaggs (who happens to be Don's cousin) and Keith Whitley. Soon enough, he would move on to make his own mark with his powerful tenor and distinctive mandolin playing. Don is equally as good on mandolin, fiddle, and guitar.
Don first began to pursue a musical career while in college. He emerged on the national scene with the Bluegrass Cardinals. Subsequently he hooked up with J.D. Crowe and the New South. He has also done stints with Charlie Sizemore and Vern Gosdin and eventually became a member of the award-winning Lonesome River Band. In addition, he filled in with the Seldom Scene upon the sudden death of John Duffey, and has been involved with Longview, Rounder's super-group comprised of top-ranked traditional bluegrass artists. The late '90s found him releasing solo recordings and undertaking a series of "brother duo" albums with Dudley Connell. Most recently Don has been performing with his own band, The Band of Ruhks, and Flashback, as well as recording.
Guitar 4: Robin Kessinger, from St. Albans, West Virginia, was the National Flatpicking Champion on guitar in 1985 and 1988. Robin also won the Best Overall Performer at Galax, Virginia. He is the son of mandolin great Bob Kessinger and the greatnephew of fiddle legend Clark Kessinger. His adaptations of fiddle tunes have amazed audiences across the U.S. and in Ireland. “Contest Favorites” with Wayne Henderson, “Star of County Down” with Steve Kaufman, and “Breakfast of Champions” with Robert Shafer are among his audio offerings. Robin’s class will concentrate on developing and refining complex and intricate techniques and styles.