I grew up playing drums and piano, but the drums really stuck. My brother began teaching me at 7, but it wasn’t until high school when I started playing in a rock and roll band that I became obsessed. I played rock, Jazz, and blues, and took a private course at the Berklee School of Music.
In the 70’s I began to listen to fiddle music, and started lessons on the violin. Then I discovered the bones and everything changed. I was taught to play the bones by Percy Danforth, one of the last exponents of the Minstrel Show style of bone playing, 43 years ago. Since that time I have been Privileged to know some of the great bones players of the 20thCenturyIncluding Ted Goon, Russ Myers, John Burrill, and many others.
I have been the Executive Director of the Rhythm Bones Society for the last 17 years, A non-profit organization dedicated to the continuation of the art of Playing the traditional rhythm bones. In 2003 I won the All Ireland Bone Playing Championship and repeated as champion in 2004. In 2016 I was invited to Judge the contest, the only American to have done so. I have taught bone Playing at festivals and workshops across the US and in Ireland. In Addition I have lectured about bone playing and the history of it at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In the early 80’s I began making rhythm bones out of the shin bone of the cow. I was advised early on in the process by Merchant marine sailor, Milton Shapanka, and gradually refined the process. I’ve consulted with Nicholas Driver, a 4th generation bone maker from Suffolk England. Bones that I make are played by Dom Flemons, formally of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and a number of traditional Irish musicians including Mel Mercier,Tommy Hayes, Cathy Jordan and Junior Davey. I also make bones out of wood.
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Bones Fest XVI Performance
Bones Fest XXIII Performance
Workshop – Irish Introduction
Workshop – Tune Types
Workshop – Jigs
Workshop – Irish Sessions