About John

John is an award-winning autoharpist and is internationally known for playing the instrument in a variety of styles as well as building custom instruments in his Blue Ridge Autoharps shop. John has been playing since childhood, following the example of his musical family members who played a variety of traditional instruments. In 2010, for his accomplishments as a player, teacher, and luthier, John was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame, an honor placing him alongside such greats as Maybelle Carter and Bryan Bowers. He was the first winner of the prestigious Mountain Laurel Autoharp Championship in 1991, and has been one of the leaders in the explosion of interest in this American-invented instrument (Bluegrass Unlimited, Feb. 1992). John teaches week-long autoharp classes regularly at the John C. Campbell Folk School in southwestern North Carolina, and often at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, West Virginia. Since 2006 he has been a regular at the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina during their Old-Time Theme Week. In 2002 he was an autoharp tutor at the Sore Fingers Summer School held in Kingham, England, and will return there in 2012. He has also taught workshops and performed at festivals in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Wisconsin, New York, Arkansas, California, Missouri, and North Carolina. John has been the autoharp champion at the world-famous Galax (VA) Fiddlers’ Convention nine times, and in 1992, 1993, and 1997 won the coveted “Outstanding Performer” award there, being the only autoharp player ever to do so. John can be seen and heard on the DVD "Autoharp: Up Close and Personal" along with nine other masters, the three-CD set "Autoharp Legacy" and the “Winfield Winners” series of autoharp cassettes. He has served as editor of the Interaction Feature of the journal Autoharp Quarterly and often contributes to the magazine.

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