He’s a self-described “street kid” from the Bronx who bailed on college and big city life for a cold-water cabin in Virginia in the 1970s. His mission? To soak up the passion that was dramatically upending his parent’s life plan for him – authentic Appalachian mountain music – at the feet of its legendary pioneers, old masters who are now long gone.
Today, Bruce Molsky is one of the most revered “multi-hyphenated career” ambassadors for America’s old-time mountain music. For decades, he’s been a globetrotting performer and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy-nominations. He’s also the classic “musician’s musician” – a man who’s received high praise from diverse fans and collaborators like Linda Ronstadt, Mark Knopfler, Celtic giants Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, jazzer Bill Frisell and dobro master Jerry Douglas, a true country gentleman by way of the Big Apple aptly dubbed “the Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddlers” by virtuoso violinist and sometimes bandmate Darol Anger.
In addition to his many live performances as a solo and with Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, Bruce will be kept away from his home in Beacon, New York, by his work as a Visiting Scholar at the old American Roots Music Program at the Boston’s Berklee College of Music, and through fiddling workshops and summer music camps he conducts for devotees here and abroad.
The life of a full-time musician and educator at Berklee and music camps far and wide keeps Bruce away from his Beacon home for half the year. Much of Bruce’s recent sojourning has been overseas, to the British Isles, Italy, Scandinavia and a far afield as Australia.
“Performing and teaching traditional music is the biggest thing in my world,” concludes Molsky. “For me, being a musician isn’t a standalone thing; it informs everything I do in my life. It’s always been about being creative and being a part of something much bigger than myself, a link in the musical chain and part of the community of people who play it and love it.”
“Bruce Molsky is one of those great players who ‘gets it’: has all the links to the past but is happy not to be chained to it”
– Mark Knopfler
“An absolute master”
– No Depression
“One of the world’s premier Appalachian-style fiddlers”
– Bloomberg News