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Jeff McKeen: accordion, guitar, and the bones

Jeff grew up in a musical household, singing at home and at church. As a young man he began playing the guitar, first learning popular and rock and roll music, later turning towards folk and traditional idioms. In college, he began playing banjo and mandolin, later adding fiddle and button accordion. In 1977, he co-founded the traditional music group Old Grey Goose and has toured with them throughout his native New England as well as in the southern Appalachians and the Pacific Northwest. In 1990, he toured Brazil with Project Troubadour, an organization devoted to international cultural exchange through music. He has worked as a folklorist for numerous cultural organizations in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes, conducting research, producing folk festivals and radio documentaries, and collecting folk songs and dance tunes from traditional musicians. In 2002, the Governor of Maine appointed Jeff to the Maine Arts Commission. When not playing music he is co-owner and operator of an oyster farm.

Jeff McKeen photo

Doug Protsik: fiddle, piano, and accordion

Doug has played music all his life since starting piano lessons at age five. In college, he developed an interest in folk music and guitar. After moving to Maine in 1971, he began studying and playing traditional music from New England, adding fiddle, accordion, and country-dance calling to his repertoire. He has performed throughout the United States at folk festivals, concerts, and dances. Doug has also traveled and performed in Europe and spent seven months touring the world learning and exploring the traditional music in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal. He composes, performs, and records old-time piano scores for silent movies, teaches at a variety of academic levels, and provides educational programs to schools and summer camps. Doug is the Director of Maine Fiddle Camp, composes and arranges for the band, and is a full-time musician.

Doug Protsik photo

Eric Rolfson: guitar, mandolin, and harmonica

Eric grew up in France where he began playing rock and roll music in the mid-1960’s, influenced by the British and American bands of the period. His mother bought him a banjo as a high-school graduation present. He took it with him to Maine in 1969 where he also discovered the mandolin and began playing the traditional music of the region. While teaching in Europe, he wrote a textbook on how to use folksong in the classroom to teach American History and Social Studies. “Folksongs bring history to life,” Rolfson explained. “Because these songs tell a story, you quickly get to the essence of the drama. Live performance, which has immediate emotional impact for students, also helps them retain detail,” Rolfson noted. Rolfson currently works at the University of Maine as vice president for development.

Eric Rolfson photo

John Gawler: banjo and guitar

John learned guitar basics at a young age during family “sing-alongs.” His first contact with traditional music was the singing and playing of Mississippi John Hurt who performed in Washington D.C. in the mid-1960’s where John grew up learning the rudiments of country blues guitar playing. The folk music scene was very active in the nation’s capital and included the old-time string band tradition of surrounding Appalachia. Following high school, John settled in Maine and has called it home for 33 years. He continues to play the five-string banjo and guitar in a variety of styles and has toured throughout the United States and Europe. John traveled through West Africa with Project Troubadour, sharing American folk music in village communities large and small. At home, John operates a sheet-metal business. With his wife and three daughters, all musicians, John continues to preserve the old-time music tradition performing in his community and throughout Maine as the “Gawler Family Band.”

John Gawler photo

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