Junior Jam Camp Faculty
Camp Director - Eric Richard Stone
Singer-songwriter Eric Richard Stone joined the staff of FolkWest in 2013, initially as a kid's camp instructor and later as a "Jack-of-all-Trades" during both spring and fall festivals. This year marks his first year stepping naturally into the role of Camp Director at the Junior Jam Camp.
Stone has been performing diverse styles of bluegrass, blues, and folk since 1978. Formerly the guitar player and lead vocalist for the Boulder, CO based bluegrass band, Switchgrass, and (along with multi-instrumental son, Peter Stone) the duo Stone soup, Stone’s previous release, Junk Yard Dog garnered praise from national reviews. His latest release Circle Round The Sun renders a blend of original soul-grabbing ballads and traditional folk songs in a fashion reminiscent of Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, or David Mallett.
Eric is excited to bring great music teachers together with talented kids to share a love of music that continues to inspire new generations.
Kate Lee O'Connor's passion and dedication has afforded her great respect in the music community as a vocalist, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Whether performing her original material as a soloist or in a band or backing up a major entertainer, Kate brings a wealth of stylistic understanding and a unique, discerning sense of phrasing to both the stage and studio. She is an energetic young woman with extensive musical scholarship and experience.
She is a founding member and lead singer of the O'Connor Band along with renowned violinist Mark O'Connor, Maggie O'Connor, and Forrest O'Connor. She and Forrest O'Connor also perform as the Americana group Kate Lee & Forrest O’Connor.
Her music career started at age nine, when she received her first violin. Within several months of starting violin, she was studying both classical music as well as more traditional fiddling styles, including Irish, bluegrass, and French-Canadian. But it wasn’t until her father encouraged her to sing that her music started taking off. After she began singing, the frequency and quality of her performances increased, and she began writing her own songs. At age 12, she formed a band called Kate Lee with No Strings Attached. During high school, Kate studied classical violin with Oleg Lupines and classical voice with Dr. Min Jin and Kayleen Follman, and she was a member of both the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Hochstein Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Nashville-born singer-songwriter, mandolinist, and guitarist Forrest O’Connor has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins, Clint Black, Del McCoury, and the Nashville Symphony.
A former Tennessee state mandolin champion, O’Connor won a Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2017 as part of the Mark O’Connor Band. He appeared in season 4 of the ABC hit series Nashville, and he co-wrote the Mark O’Connor Band’s song, “In My Blood,” which was produced by Zac Brown and reached #1 on the iTunes Bluegrass chart in June 2018.
O’Connor graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Sociomusicology from Harvard University. He is also a co-founder of the music webcasting company Concert Window, Inc., which has developed into one of the leading webcasting platforms for musicians and has been featured on TED as well as in The Examiner, TechCrunch, and The Boston Herald.
Bonnie and Taylor Sims are a musical couple from Texas who now make their home in the Rocky Mountains. The two met in 2005 while attending South Plains College in Levelland, TX where they began their life of love and music. Over the last ten years they have made a name for themselves as a true Colorado treasure with a full touring schedule as well as many teaching and speaking commitments.
Bonnie Sims sings & plays mandolin and carries on the musical tradition of her father, a life long Texas banjo playing legend and songwriter. Taylor Sims sings & plays flat-top guitar and is an award-winning songwriter and recording artist from wide open spaces of West Texas. They tour regularly as an acoustic duo, as well as front a five piece country/rock band called Bonnie & The Clydes. With four critically acclaimed albums and multiple awards they continue to write, perform and produce real Americana music that is truly their own.
Gregg Daigle earned a Classical Guitar Performance Degree from UMASS in 1992. From 1993-1995 Gregg lived and worked in Cambridge, MA, where he enjoyed full exposure to the East Coast Bluegrass picking scene. In ’95 he moved to Albuquerque, NM, to establish himself as a solo performer and music educator. Currently, he maintains a private studio of over 40 students, and has built a large community of local pickers with his unique jamming programs. You can learn more at www.GreggDaigleMusic.com