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Annie & Mac - Old Time Music: News

NEWS NEWS NEWS - March 1, 2014

We have lots of exciting news to share.


Plans for our trip to France are firming up. We arrive in Paris on May 22 and head to Normandy from there. On May 24, we’ll have an afternoon jam session followed by our concert for the Normandy Country Association ( (See the promotional flyer in our photo gallery—hope you speak French!) Our friends from France, Gerard and Bernadette, were here a few weeks ago and we are working on a song Mac wrote in French about the Marmotte (groundhog), which we will all perform together on May 24 at the concert. Mac sings and plays harmonica, while Bernadette and Annie back up on vocals and guitar, and Gerard will play the triangle (it’s a cajun tune).

We’ve also been contacted by another music group in France and hopefully we’ll be able to meet them while we are there. Their group is called Chantimor, they specialize in singing sea shanties, and they are located in Brittany. The website is and you can also see them on YouTube.


We leave Paris on May 30 and head to Glasgow, Scotland, to visit our friend Dick, he was one of the first friends we made on YouTube and he visited our home in Virginia several years ago when he was in the States for a banjo workshop. He played the bagpipes in our backyard and also played the uilleann pipes in a video we posted on YouTube. (Amazing Grace, posted  April 10, 2008, Now, we’ll have a chance to play music in his hometown too. We’ll be in Scotland until June 6 when we head home for Virginia.


Back in the USA, we have been honored to be inducted into America’s Traditional Old Time Music Hall of Fame. This is very exciting for us and we will be in LeMars, Iowa, on August 29-30, to attend the National Old Time Music Festival, where the induction will take place and we will have a chance to perform also. It is very humbling to be included with many great old time musicians with this honor. You can see more information on the website ( We will have more details on our website as things get firmed up.

Witches and Banjos - November 16, 2013

We attended the 24th Annual Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival on October 26 & 27 at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were big and the fun was fantastic. Mac competed in the banjo category and won third place. We performed in the band category as “the Virginia Hams” with our friends Tom on guitar and Shreve on fiddle. The fiddler’s festival was greatly impacted last year by the landfall of hurricane Sandy and as a result, they are still trying to get the musicians to come back out and compete. So we strongly encourage all of you fiddle and banjo players, old time and bluegrass bands (both adult and youth) to attend this event next year. You’ll enjoy the hospitality from this community, Halloween fun, a beautiful beach, and a chance to perform and possibly win some prizes. Next year’s festival will be October 24-26, 2014, and the website is:

Here is a link to a video posted on YouTube from this year’s festival


Virginia's Treasures - August 27, 2013

Annie & Mac provided the soundtrack for a new public TV show called “Virginia’s Treasures” exploring the world of Virginia antiques. The pilot will air on WVPT on September 26, 2013. You will hear our version of Red Haired Boy in the background while enjoying the adventures of antique buying and selling. Here’s a link to the trailer

 And this is the website


Newfoundland Express 2013 -- "the journey" - August 27, 2013

Icebergs, moose and whales, oh my! That’s what we saw on our vacation this July. So our advice is, if someone invites you to visit them in Newfoundland, Canada, say YES! We said yes to Gerard and Geri’s invitation to visit them in the campground they own (Gateway to the North RV Park—a link is on our website) on Deer Lake, Newfoundland. Our good friends George (fiddler) and Suzi (washboard player) and their two dogs, Luna and Liesl, made the trip with us and what a trip it was. We drove to Halifax, Nova Scotia, rented a camper there and then took the ferry from North Sydney to Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland. Among the highlights of the trip were several “kitchen parties” (Newfoundland jam sessions) with local musicians and music lovers.  While singing around the campfire one night, we even had a moose wander into the nearby field on his way to woods behind us. Guess he liked the music. We were treated to cod fishing (Mac and Gerard caught some that made their way to the dinner table), a lobster and crab buffet, and of course we witnessed firsthand how to play the Newfoundland “ugly stick.” Geri is quite the expert on a modified version and you can see her in action on our YouTube video ( as well as videos that she and Gerard have made ( No trip to Newfoundland is complete without sighting an iceberg and we did. Mac and George got up close and personal with it when a fisherman agreed to take them out to it in his boat.  During the trip we learned some new regional tunes from Gerard our host, an accomplished harmonica player, and taught him some of ours as well. World peace through music! (Catch all the photos in our gallery.)

Highland County Old Time Fiddlers Convention - July 14, 2013

Monterey, Virginia – “Little Switzerland,” home of the annual March Maple Festival, in beautiful Highland County. That’s where we were June 14-16 at the Highland County Old Time Fiddlers Convention, enjoying the “cool” weather, old time music jams, amazing stage shows and contests, meeting with old friends and making new ones. Mac played his harmonica in the contest and won third place for the “open” category, which means instruments other than fiddle and banjo. Some of the new friends we made were Jim and Brenda who know us from our YouTube videos. They made a trip from St. Louis, Missouri, to Virginia on their motorcycle (see our Photos page) to combine a family history trip with attending the Highland County Old Time Fiddlers Convention and meeting us, Annie & Mac. (Isn’t YouTube amazing?) Together, we had a blast watching the band contest finals Saturday night—stellar band performances and hilarious commentary by the emcee, Buzz. What a great festival. Put it on your calendar for next year! (

It's a Small World - May 13, 2013

Would you travel across the Atlantic Ocean to meet one of your favorite YouTube performers? Well that's what Bernadette and Gerard did. They live in Normandy, France, and are big fans of early American country music (like Hank Snow and Johnny Cash, etc.). Gerard plays the harmonica and really likes the Annie & Mac videos posted on YouTube. Well, when his birthday was approaching, his wife Bernadette decided to surprise him with a little trip to the USA to meet Annie & Mac.

They arrived in the US on February 1st and hooked up with us at a weekend gathering of musicians at the James River State Park. They then spent the week staying at our friends George & Suzi's "Cabin on Bear Ridge" in Rileyville, VA. We had several great music jams and hikes and crepe parties during the week. Gerard performed with us at a local gig which attracted the attention of the local TV station (TV3 in Winchester, VA, see our Press/Reviews page) and newspaper (Warren County Report, see our Photos page). Bernadette speaks English but Gerard does not. That never stopped him and Patrick from communicating. They were chatting like long lost friends despite the language barrier (probably had something to do with the harmonica)! As you might guess, we are now planning to visit France next year.

This reminds us of other people we have met because of YouTube. Last August, Dave Smith from Saskatchewan, Canada, met us in West Virginia at the Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, where we had tons of fun jamming and comparing musical notes with our friend from the North. Tom and Genevieve of New York stopped by Virginia on their vacation last year and Tom played with us at a local gig. Dick from Scotland met us here when he traveled to the US for a banjo workshop. He was playing the bagpipes in our backyard! And recently we have been invited by another Gerard in Newfoundland to visit his campground up there this summer. Life is good when you can do what you love and share it with others via the Internet and they respond in kind!

Rangeline Grass - August 31, 2012

We spent a terrific weekend (July 15-16) in Covington, Ohio, with friends and fellow musicians at the first annual Rangeline Grass Bluegrass Gospel Festival ( Hosts Butch and Marcia Wills expanded upon a local event they've held in their backyard for a few years, this time opening it up to the general public. Never one to do anything small, they presented the biggest names in bluegrass, such as Dailey & Vincent, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Paul Williams and the Victory Trio, and excellent local performers--Ray Bolden, Berachah Valley, and Rum River Blend. Annie & Mac provided the "old-time" touch with our clawhammer banjo, guitar, harmonica and duet singing. Special thanks to CandidPix.Info who took great photos (see our photo gallery) and made them available for the musicians to post on our websites. This was a wonderful weekend of good food, fun, fellowship, and music. Thanks to Butch and Marcia and all who worked so hard to make it a success.

Guests from Ithaca - July 31, 2012

We had a special treat on June 27. Tom Farrell and his wife Genevieve Kocienda were traveling from their home in Ithaca, NY, to Tennessee and wanted to stop in Virginia and meet us because they had seen our YouTube videos. Tom is a talented singer and guitar player himself so he joined us in a set in Leesburg, Virginia. In our photo gallery are some great pictures that Genevieve took, we only wish there was one of her too! Thanks again to Tom and Genevieve for stopping in Virginia to meet us and we hope to get up to Ithaca someday to enjoy the music scene there too.

Highland County Old Time Fiddlers Convention - July 25, 2012

If you are looking for a good old time music festival, try the Highland County Fiddler's Convention next June in Monterey, Virginia. We attended the first annual convention on June 15-16. In addition to the best old time musicians around, the mountain scenery is gorgeous. The area is known as "Little Switzerland" and is also famous for its maple syrup. There was a great sense of community and all around good feeling as dancers, singers, and players all converged into one big happy family. Food and craft vendors rounded out this complete event. Mac competed in the "Other" category and took second place for his harmonica rendition of Turkey in the Straw. Check out the coverage of the event at this

link For information about the festival, go to

Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week - May 27, 2012

We got a real taste of Cajun and Creole culture and food in April at the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week at beautiful Chicot State Park (see Mac's picture of the park in our photo gallery) in Ville Platte, Louisiana. Mac got a chance to work on his Cajun accordion playing (he has been learning to play for two years now). We attended workshops (Cajun French singing with David Greely, guitar with Brazos Huval, and Cajun accordion with Jonno Frishberg and Steve Riley). We jammed with Cajun musicians on the dock overlooking the beautiful waterway and were treated to nightly dances with such excellent bands as Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys. Master presentations were made by greats such as D.L. Menard; Lee Allen Zeno & Zydeco Ray; and McCauley (no relation), Reed & Vidrine. You can enjoy videos posted on YouTube [] and get more information about the week at We plan to attend next year on April 19-26, 2013. See you there!

Banjo Lessons - March 2, 2012

If you have always wanted to learn to play the banjo, Mac is now offering clawhammer banjo lessons. Call or email us for more information. Phone 540-635-6841. Email

Sea Witch Fiddlers Festival in Rehoboth, Delaware - November 14, 2011

Wet Dog? That was the name of our pick-up band when we competed at the Sea Witch Fiddlers Festival in Rehoboth, Delaware, on October 29. We felt like wet dogs because we were soaked from the driving rain that day. Fortunately, the contest was held in the convention center. Our friend, guitarist Tom Furtado, joined us in the band and we played three songs: Redwing, Before I Met You, and 'Til the End of the World Rolls Round. We took third place in the band category. Mac also won second place in the banjo contest and Tom's children, Victor and Lulu, took prizes in youth banjo and youth band.

St. Patrick's Day Live Radio Show - April 14, 2011

We were honored to be asked to participate in a live radio show in Richmond on WCVE Public Radio's 5th Annual St. Patrick's Day Concert. Richmond's own Irish-American pub band, Uisce Beatha, held center stage during the show and we performed several Irish songs ourselves. In addition, actors presented readings and poems. You can read all about it and see photos at

Mac is a Published Author - April 14, 2011

Mac wrote an article titled "Harmonica In Old Time Music" which was published in the Winter 2011 issue (Issue #32, March 2011) of Americana Rhythm Music Magazine. In the article, Mac traces the history of this humble instrument back to its early days. He then talks about the harmonica's heyday and the role it plays in today's old time music genre. Issues of the magazine are available at the web site (

"Message From the Hills" - New Downloadable CD - April 14, 2011

Old time music converges with newfangled technology in "Message From the Hills." That's the name of our latest CD, which is actually a collection of 12 downloadable songs. You can purchase some or all of these mostly traditional tunes. Songs include Mississippi Sawyer, Red Wing, Walking Cane, and Annie & Mac's original "Go On & Git." Message From the Hills is available at

YouTube Video - April 7, 2011

Nova Scotia Trip - November 29, 2010

We're still glowing from our three week visit to New England, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton Island in September and October. Fortunately good weather abounded, since we were camping. Rainbows are very plentiful in Cape Breton, especially in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, because it can't decide if it wants to rain or be sunny, so often both occur simultaneously. The 14th Annual Celtic Colours Festival was taking place October 8-14 in Cape Breton and that afforded us the opportunity to perform at an open mike session at the Baddeck Yacht Club on October 9, as well as attend a thrilling show of fiddlers and harpists in Wagmatcook that evening. While in Chetticamp the previous Thursday, we also performed at an open mike which was to air on local TV stations there the following week. Meeting friendly people from Nova Scotia as well as other travelers from all over was an enriching experience and there is a germ of a seed for a new song in there somewhere!

Annie & Mac Featured in Newspaper Article - August 25, 2010

Thanks to our friend, Art Jaeger, who did some public relations for us, we were interviewed for a feature in the Northern Virginia Daily newspaper. Much of the article deals with our adventures on YouTube and the YouTube Strummit Portrait book, but it also provides a general overview of old time music, harmonica and banjo playing. It's another way to help the traditional music stay alive for new generations and an introduction to those who were unaware of its existence and resurgence. We're happy to do our part. To read the article, click here

"YouTube Strummit Portraits" - August 25, 2010

This is the title of a new book and exhibition by John Parsons celebrating the perpretators of ordinary music. John saw our YouTube music video postings and we are honored to be one of the twenty-four musical groups celebrated in his unique exhibition, in which he created computer generated portraits from the YouTube videos and included information about the performers and how they feel about their music in their own words. The book is available at and his art from the YouTube Strummit Portraits will be shown at the Gryphon D'Or Tea Room, 5968 Monkland Ave., Montreal in August/September 2010. John's work is a loving celebration of the folk song tradition and some of the unsung heroes who practice it. Thank you, John!

Carroll County (Maryland) Fiddlers Convention, June 13, 2010 - June 20, 2010

We made it to the Carroll County Fiddlers Convention in Westminster, Maryland, on June 13. Our friend, John Kovac, harpist & harpmaker, came with us. We play with John in a band called "Loose Strings." We had a great day in Westminster, enjoying the weather and all the fine music. We entered the contests and are happy to report that John won first place in the "special instrument" category for his harp playing. Mac took third place in the same category for harmonica playing. Mac also came in second in the old time banjo contest and our band "Loose Strings" placed first in the old time band category. There was an article ( in the Carroll County Times about the fiddlers convention and there was a photo (
of our trio practicing for the contest. Keep on picking and grinning!

YouTube--What a Great Idea! - January 22, 2010

We have been putting videos on YouTube for a couple of years now and are always amazed at the comments from people all around the world. Music is truly the universal language. We even received beautiful paintings of Annie & Mac from an Italian viewer. Our hearts were really touched by that. It's great to be able to share our music and know that people are getting so much pleasure from it. There is a treasure trove of music on YouTube that we get to enjoy as well. Check it out at

We Have a New CD - September 2, 2009

We are happy to announce the release of our second CD, "Like a Winding Stream," which is now available at (search for Annie and Mac) or by ordering it directly from us for $15.00 (includes shipping and handling). Sound clips of the songs are available at Several fine musicians joined us on this project: George Hodgkiss on bass, John Kaparakis on guitar, Leon Morris on guitar and mandolin, Veronica Randolph on fiddle, and Speedy Tolliver on fiddle. Our thanks to everyone who helped make this new production a reality.

American Roots Music Series - April 26, 2009

On Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 pm, joined by Keith Dill on mandolin and fiddle, we will present an evening of "Old Time Music Duet Singing" to demonstrate and discuss duet styles of many pioneers integral to American music history. The program follows a chronology and gives details about the songs and the performers. The artists presented include The Blue Sky Boys, The Delmore Brothers, James & Martha Carson, The Louvin Brothers, Red Foley & Kitty Wells, and Grandpa & Ramona Jones. We hope you can join us at the Grace Episcopal Chapel in Berryville, VA. For reservations or information call (540) 955-4001. Admission is $10, children free. [There will be a candle light dinner before the program at 6:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall, $10 suggested donation, for reservations please call (540) 955-1610.]

Gardner Winter Music Festival - March 18, 2009

We travelled to Morgantown, West Virginia, in February to attend the Gardner Winter Music Festival. If you like old time music and dance, this festival is for you. They have jamming, stage shows (sign up in advance to perform), and square dancing. We met our friends there from Ohio, John & Gwenn Noftsger (a.k.a. "The Ohio River Minstrels", and joined them on stage since John had lost his voice due to laryngitis. Then we did our own Annie & Mac show later. We had a great time. Photos will be posted on the website

Lucky Star Lounge - September 25, 2008

On August 13, we performed at the Lucky Star Lounge on Main Street in Front Royal, Virginia. We played with our friends John & Judi. Together, we call ourselves the Loose Strings Band. John plays the Paraguayan harp and Judi plays the washtub bass (see the photos page).
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