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, Backup for Kids: Bob Lieving, from Huntington WV, started playing bluegrass in the early 70’s after hearing it live for the first time. During those bluegrass years Bob played with several local bands, including Slight-Lee-Touched with Dan Wilson, and other gigs including playing with banjo picker Bobby Maynard. About the year 2000, he fell in love with the “old time” music and has been playing it ever since. He currently plays guitar with the Bing Brothers Band. Bob says there is nothing that compares to the joy of playing the hard driving melodic old tunes and wants to share that joy with all the Allegheny Echoes students.
Guitar-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.
Intermediate: Billy Hefner was born and raised in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. He is a multitalented master on flat-picking and finger picking guitar and mandolin. He also is well known for his lead and harmony vocals in the gospel field. Along with his brother Richard and uncle “Dude”, he founded the world renowned Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys in the late ‘60’s and can be heard on their early recordings.
Guitar 5: 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.