Bela Fleck

A world premier banjo player, Béla Fleck has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations.

Béla was born on July 10,1958 and raised in New York City. While watching The Beverly Hillbillies as a young boy, the bluegrass sounds of Flatt & Scruggs flowed out of the TV set and into his young brain. Earl Scruggs’s banjo style hooked Béla’s interest immediately. “It was like sparks going off in my head,” he later said.

The banjo didn’t become a full time passion until ’73, when his grandfather coincidentally bought him one. That week, Béla entered New York City’s, High School of Music and Art. He began studies on the French horn but was soon demoted to the chorus, due to his lack of musical aptitude. Since the banjo wasn’t an offered elective at Music and Art, Béla sought lessons through outside sources: Erik Darling, Marc Horowitz, and Tony Trischka stepped up and filled the job.

Many exciting things happened after that in Fleck's career, but he is perhaps best known for performing with his longtime band the Flecktones, where he has shared the stage with the Dave Mathews Band, Sting, Bonnie Raitt and the Grateful Dead, among many others, In addition he made several appearances on The Tonight Show, both the Johnny Carson and the Jay Leno days, as well as Arsenio Hall, and Conan O’Brian. Béla also appeared on Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with David Letterman. The Flecktones went on tour with Dave Matthews Band in 1996 and 1997, and Bela is featured on several tracks on DMB’s 1998 album Before These Crowded Streets.
An established and powerful creative force in bluegrass, jazz, pop, rock and world music - and even connecting to the classical genre - he joined forces with his wife, clawhammer banjoist and singer Abigail Washburn in 2013 for a very banjo-centric recording and touring project. The impetus was the birth of their son Juno. Along with the obvious musical chemistry, this family band would keep their family together – on tour. Their debut album Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn took home the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk album.

In recent years he’s found himself bouncing between various intriguing touring situations, while still performing with the Flecktones after 30 years. The recipient of multiple Grammy Awards and nominations going back to 1998, Béla Fleck has won 15 Grammys (with 30 nominations). He has been nominated in more categories than any other instrumentalist in Grammy history.

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Abigail Washburn

Abigail Washburn is a singing, songwriting, Illinois-born, Nashville-based clawhammer banjo player who pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, and the results feel both strangely familiar and unlike anything anybody's ever heard before.

Her music ranges from the "all-g'earl" string band sound of Uncle Earl to her bi-lingual solo release Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005), to the mind-bending "chamber roots" sound of the Sparrow Quartet, to the rhythms, sounds and stories of Afterquake, her fundraiser CD for the Sichuan earthquake victims. The New York Times praised her 2011 release, City of Refuge, written with collaborator Kai Welch, saying the the songs "mingle Appalachia and folk-pop, with tinges of Asia and Bruce Springsteen." Her most recent release, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (2014) was recorded with her husband, 15-time Grammy award winning banjo virtuoso, Béla Fleck. Currently Abigail and Béla are touring the world as a "trio" with their growing little boy Juno.

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Laurelyn Dossett

Singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett lives and writes right here in the piedmont of North Carolina, and her songs tend to reflect the stories of our region, both traditional and contemporary. One of the most sought-after voices in creative collaborations, she has toured with Rhiannon Giddens, folk legend Alice Gerrard and composer/violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain. She premiered composer Kenneth Frazelle’s song cycle, Songs in the Rear View Mirror, and has toured with the North Carolina Symphony. She has appeared on Prairie Home Companion and at various music festivals with Polecat Creek, a band she co-founded with Kari Sickenberger.

One of Laurelynn's most exciting projects has been her partnership with Triad Stage’s Preston Lane on six plays featuring regional folklore and original music: Brother Wolf (2006), Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity (2006), Bloody Blackbeard (2008) Providence Gap (2010,) Snow Queen (2013) and Radiunt Abundunt (2016). In addition, her song “Leaving Eden” is the title track of the Carolina Chocolate Drops Grammy-nominated release.

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Despite the fantastic combination of raw talent that will grace the stage at LandJam this year, it's the very important cause that will be the central focus. Piedmont Land Conservancy has helped to preserve over 30,000 acres of land in the Piedmont Triad, and with the help of members, donors, landowners, and events such as LandJam, are well on their way to preserving 30,000 more.

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