Camp II – Instructors

Dave Firestine


Dave pulls out the “take no prisoners” style of playing at every dance – bringing the tunes to their full potential and beyond. He is a tune-meister and music jams are super fun when he is in the driver’s seat.

Originally a drummer, his strong sense of rhythm and syncopation is the foundation of his playing and tune writing, and truthfully he is never happier than when he gets to pull out the laptop drum kit to back swing and honky tonk tunes. Don’t worry, he can access his sensitive side when playing waltzes and beautiful melodies.

Dave is a music vagrant retiree now, but before that, he was Senior Gyzmologist building lightning detection systems. He is currently playing with the dance bands STEAM! ( and The Privy Tippers.

Abbie Gardner


Best known as a founding member of Americana harmony trio Red Molly, Abbie Gardner is a joyful dobro player and singer/songwriter with an infectious smile. She loves teaching dobro and songwriting, whether in person or with her down-to-earth “Woodshed” YouTube lessons filmed from her home in the shadow of New York City. Abbie goes out of her way to make it fun and achievable, while seeking to forever expand her own knowledge.

Abbie has taught dobro at Nashville Dobro Camp, Grand Targhee, ResoSummit and Rockygrass Academy. She specializes in singing while playing, dobro as a rhythm instrument, treating musician’s injuries (as an Occupational Therapist) and creating lyrical solos in G tuning or D tuning. On the songwriting side, Abbie has taught at Swannanoa Gathering, Summer Songs, and New England Songwriter’s Retreat; as well as running her own Zoom writing classes seasonally since April 2020. She’s endlessly fascinated by music, so there are no dumb questions in her classes!

Conner Hollingsworth


Conner Hollingsworth began his music career in Chicago where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance at Northeastern Illinois University under the tutelage of Lyric Opera bassist Greg Sarchet. While in Chicago, Conner accrued a wealth of experience performing and recording with symphony orchestras, jazz combos, musicals, and singer-songwriter projects. Conner moved to Boulder, CO in 2014 where he earned his Master’s degree in Music Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Colorado.

While in Colorado, Conner has been incredibly grateful to become part of a rich musical community that shares his deep respect for traditional American music. Conner regularly performs at clubs, swing dances, and music festivals with acts such as The Jeremy Mohney Band and Greg Schochet’s Little America. Conner finds great reward in hopefully carrying on the great tradition of American music from the 1920’s-40’s which developed and integrated the sounds of blues, country, jazz, swing, folk, and bluegrass in ways that still lift spirits and warm hearts today.

Tim May


Tim May has taught for a bunch of years at the Colorado Roots Music Camp.  He’s also one of today’s hottest flatpickers, period.

For fifteen years, he performed with the progressive bluegrass band Crucial Smith, playing most of the high-profile festivals in the country including Telluride, Winfield and Winterhawk.  In 2002-2003 he toured with Patty Loveless in support of her bluegrass albums Mountain Soul and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas.  In 2005, he recorded on Charlie Daniels’ album Songs from the Long Leaf Pines, and was solo guitarist on the Grammy-nominated track I’ll Fly Away.

Tim has also toured with John Cowan Band, performed at the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Mike Snider’s Old Time String Band and played on the all-star Rounder recording Moody Bluegrass: a Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues, of which Mark Hurley of Higher and Higher, the Moody Blues fan magazine, said “The jaw-dropping guitar solo on The Voice would cause Eddie Van Halen to weep from insecurity.”

Of his playing, Pat Flynn said “Tim always says that I influenced him, but the truth is that I’ve learned something every time I play with him.  I owe him a lot,” and Dan Crary said simply, “Tim May has just become one of my favorite guitar players.” (Last update 2022)

Ken Perlman


Ken Perlman is a pioneer of the 5-string banjo style known as melodic clawhammer; he is considered one today’s top clawhammer players, known in particular for his skillful adaptations of Celtic, Appalachian, & Canadian fiddle tunes to the style. He is also a highly skilled guitarist whose book, Fingerpicking Fiddle Tunes was the very first contemporary manual devoted to adapting fiddle music to fingerstyle. He has toured throughout most of the English-speaking world and in Western-Europe, both as a soloist and – for over fifteen years – in a duo with renowned Appalachian-style fiddler Alan Jabbour. An acclaimed teacher of folk-music instrumental skills, Ken has written such widely used banjo instruction books as Clawhammer Style Banjo. Fingerstyle Guitar, Melodic Clawhammer Banjo and Everything You Wanted to Know About Clawhammer Banjo; he has been on staff at prestigious festivals around the world, and he is currently director of three music-instructional camps: American Banjo Camp, Midwest Banjo Camp, and Suwannee Banjo Camp. Also an independent folklorist, Ken spent close to two decades collecting tunes and oral histories from traditional fiddle players on Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada. His most recent solo recordings are Frails & Frolics and Northern Banjo; his recordings with Alan Jabbour are Southern Summits & You Can’t Beat the Classics; his latest book is Appalachian Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo. (Last update 2023)

See Ken Perlman videos

Gretchen Priest


Gretchen Priest: Born in IN; Living in Nashville, TN since 1995. She toured with Celtic rock band, “Ceili Rain” and bluegrass band, “Crucial Smith”. Performed on the
Grand Ole Opry, and with various artists including Kathy Mattea, Joy Lynn White, Manhattan Transfer, Lyle Lovett, Charlie McCoy, and she played for the Pope!

She has taught at many camps over the years including Alaska Trad Music Camp, Texas Acoustic Music Camp, Nashcamp, CO Roots Camp, Steve Kaufman’s Camp, and Mark
O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp. She is the founder & Director of the Musical Heritage Center, AKA… the Fiddle & Pick since 2008; hosting traditional music events with
workshops and concerts by expert instructors. She teaches private lessons and leads inclusive multi-level jams, sessions and classes.

Gretchen loves playing tunes for dancers; Contra, flatfootin’, Irish dance. She currently performs with the “Nashville Irish Trio”; Eamonn Dillon (pipes & whistle), Robert Johnson (guitar & bouzouki). Tours with eclectic bluegrass artist, Erinn Peet- Lukes. Gretchen’s “PLAIDGRASS” CD shows her fiddle skill in Bluegrass, Old-Time & Irish. Recording project release soon, “Roadside Distraction”, with mandolinist Emily Wilson (Old-time, Irish and wacky tunes). (Last update 2022)

Cindy Scott 


Cindy Scott’s path has been, well, different. Raised in a family of musicians, her first instrument was flute, which earned her a scholarship to Louisiana State University. She went on to get an MBA and learned to speak German and Spanish along the way. During a study abroad program, she began singing in the jazz cellars of Germany with local musicians. Back in the US, she climbed the corporate ladder for a while, but in 2005, left a successful business career for a musician’s life in New Orleans, where she promptly lost all her household belongings to Hurricane Katrina. She decided to stick around and has since become firmly rooted in the rich music scene of the Crescent City.

Cindy maintains an active performance schedule in New Orleans and elsewhere. She has performed in cities all over the US and Europe and in more exotic locales like Mexico, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. Her recording “Let the Devil Take Tomorrow” won OffBeat Magazine’s Best Contemporary Jazz Album award for 2010, and All About Jazz said of her, “The Devil may take tomorrow, but … Cindy Scott clearly owns today.” She is currently working on her fourth album, which will reflect more of her singer-songwriter tendencies.

Cindy is also a respected voice instructor of many styles. She has taught contemporary voice at both the University of New Orleans and Loyola University, and as of 2016, Berklee College of Music.  She’s taught a myriad of professional vocalists, and was hired to coach Oscar-winning actor Octavia Spencer and actor-comedian Russell Brand.  One of her former students, Jon Cleary, just won a GRAMMY™ for his recording “GoGo Juice.”

…and Roots Camp founder Charlie Hall was proud to claim her as his cousin. (Last update 2018)

Cyd Smith


A sophisticated guitarist and inspired singer/songwriter, Cyd Smith is a longtime member of the Northwest music scene. From swing jazz classics and Americana to her own impeccably crafted original songs, her music sparkles with wit, whimsy, and passion. An early background in classical guitar and a long study of swing jazz inform her unique sound. Cyd performs regularly in the Northwest and is a popular teacher at adult music camps throughout the United States, including the Centrum Blues Workshop, Augusta Heritage Festival, and Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. (Last update 2022)

Doug Smith


Doug Smith, winner of the 2006 International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, weaves together folk, classical, jazz and contemporary forms into a unique, flowing fingerpicking style recalling the playing of Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, and Alex de Grassi.  Of his playing, Billboard writes “Inviting melodies… stunning fingerpicking”; Fingerstyle Guitar magazine raves “Smith’s fretboard brilliance continues to dazzle.”

He’s been heard nationwide on radio and TV, including The Discovery Channel, Martha Stewart Living, CNN, TNN, ESPN, and Encore. He also played guitar on the soundtracks for the movies Moll Flanders, Twister, and August Rush.

Doug has released six of his own albums, and in 2005, he earned a Grammy award for his role in the album Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar along with a Who’s Who of fingerstyle guitarists including Laurence Juber, Pat Donohue, Ed Gerhard, Mark Hanson and William Coulter. (Last update 2018)

Doug Smith videos

Keith Yoder


Keith Yoder has taught guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, fiddle, and resophonic guitar full time since 1994. In recent years, he has become the go-to guy for jam leadership as well, leading jams at many of the major acoustic music camps in North America.  He loves helping folks, both first-timers and veterans, learn the joy of playing with others.

He’s released several CDs, and most recently one where he plays all instrumental parts and sings all vocal parts.

Radim Zenkl


Radim Zenkl, is a mandolin player, composer and instructor. Originally from the Czech Republic, he began playing the mandolin at thirteen, and discovered bluegrass by listening to records that were smuggled in to his communist country. The sound of a bluegrass mandolin initiated the spark that launched a decision to play music as a career at the age of seventeen and subsequently led Radim beyond bluegrass to an eclectic array of styles.

He escaped from Czechoslovakia four months before the fall of communism and settled in the San Francisco Bay area.

Radim won the US National Mandolin Championship in 1992. His style features progressive original and eastern European traditional music flavored with bluegrass, jazz, new age, flamenco, rock, classical and other influences. Radim is at the cutting edge of the mandolin’s future, designing new mandolin family instruments and creating new playing styles. He has invented a masterful technique, the ‘Zenkl style,’ in which a single mandolin sounds like two. According to David Grisman: “Zenkl has re-invented the mandolin in several different ways.”

Besides collaborating with the top musicians of the acoustic music scene, Radim has built up an extensive repertoire for solo mandolin, mandola and Irish bouzouki. He has recorded several solo CDs (released on Acoustic Disc, Shanachie and Ventana) and has appeared on more than sixty other recordings. Radim’s worldwide performing and teaching credentials include guest appearances at prestigious music institutions such as the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland.