The Presenter/Interpreters

In the years following the Folk Music Revival and its great popularity on college campuses and in coffee houses in cities and towns, a new generation of people emerged with a dedicated inclination and talent for music-making (often, both singing and instrumental) and an interest in traditional or “folk” music.  These artists have been drawn more to the Revivalists style of performance and to an eclectic variety of repertoire material.

Presenters/Interpreters often attest to personal discovery--otherwise growing up familiar with modern-day commercial pop or other music genres--and opt to specialize in a mixture of traditional folk music and more contemporary "folksy" songs, including their own arrangements and singer/songwriter compositions.  Some performing artists in the category have longtime Adirondack family and community heritage ties, others not. Most individuals in the category engage in independent historical and music heritage research that informs part-time or full-time music education and public programs at all age levels.  Many of these artists who include Traditional Adirondack Music in their repertoire make their livelihood as performers and teachers, by touring, promotional Internet websites, and now and then self-production or independent label CDs.

Dan Berggren
, now retired as Professor Emeritus of Audio and Radio Studies at SUNY College at Fredonia, has been collecting, writing and singing folk music of the Adirondacks for the past 30 years.  He grew up in the mountains on the land farmed by his mother’s family and worked on a forest ranger’s crew as a young man.  His Sleeping Giant Records have released a dozen albums featuring his music, both traditional and original, and Dan performs throughout the Northeast in many venues.  Learn more about him at

John Kirk & Trish Miller live in Saratoga County, where Trish teaches banjo at Skidmore College and John teaches music at nearby Bennington College. They often perform as a duo, with a diverse repertoire of original and traditional music. John plays fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and calls dances; Trish plays lap dulcimer and ukulele. John has his own recordings and has played on many others.  The Dixie Chicks recorded his song “Long Roads.”  Trish has been teaching and performing Appalachian clogging since 1981. For more information, go to

Lee Knight
was raised in the Adirondacks but has lived most of his adult life in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  A close friend of Marjorie Lansing Porter, as a young man he learned songs from her collection and has since collected songs and stories from all over the world.  Lee works in North Carolina as a folk singer, storyteller, outdoor educator, and whitewater rafting guide.  He plays several traditional instruments.  He released a CD called Adirondack Ballads and Folk Songs from the Porter collection in 1995. See the Local Songs page for some of Lee's Music. You can also learn more at

Stan Ransom, “The Connecticut Peddler,” comes from a family who was “always singing, playing music, and involved with choirs and singing groups,” and is now an active musician who specializes in singing and playing the hammered dulcimer, guitar, mandolin, and autoharp.  A professional librarian who grew up on Long Island and went to Yale, Stan is a dedicated songwriter, with many of his songs reflecting the interests of the North Country.  He has produced several recordings, with a combination of Traditional Adirondack Music and original creations.  See more at

Dave Ruch has sung and played numerous instruments professionally for over 24 years.  At home in Buffalo and at camp near Tupper Lake, Dave has become a specialist in researching and performing traditional and historical songs from America and the British Isles.  Over the years, he has done thousands of educational concerts for pre-K through 8th grade audiences, founded his own series of workshops for music-based learning experiences in history and the humanities, and created audio recordings for the education market.  Dave has been the Project Director for the creation of this website for TAUNY.  Learn more about him at

Christopher Shaw & Bridget Ball are singer/songwriters who live just south of the Adirondacks in rural Rensselaer County.  Descended from steamboat pilots , Chris has a personal interest in history, tracing his own family roots back to the French and Indian War. He and his wife Bridget, a financial advisor for a Wall Street firm, frequently perform together, at festivals, libraries and schools throughout the region and beyond.  They have numerous recordings and public television documentaries to their credit.  For more, go to

George Ward
is a lifelong collector and performer of traditional songs, drawing on the rural singing traditions of the Northeast for his main inspiration.  George and his late wife Vaughn were trained in folklore studies for documenting and preserving traditional materials.  That began a long career as folklorists, with special personal interests in traditional musicians of the southern Adirondacks.   George is a teaching artist, best known for traditional and original soundtracks for media productions about Erie Canal and regional history.   For additional information, go to

Jeff Warner, son of collectors Frank and Anne Warner, grew up with a fascination for and love of traditional music in America.  Now a resident of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Jeff studies and presents musical traditions from the Outer Banks fishing villages of North Carolina, to the whaling ports of New England, and the lumber camps of the Adirondacks.  He travels all over the United States and Europe to perform at festivals, museums, clubs and schools.  His 1995 recording--Two Little Boys: More Old time Songs for Kids—received a Parents’ Choice Award.  Contact him at