TWO-TIME GRAMMY® Award Winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are an eclectic folk festival on their own terms. They have entertained the Queen of Thailand, been keynote singers for the AFL-CIO, performed at hundreds of folk festivals, appeared on the “Today Show” and on National Public Radio. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the guitar, five-string banjo, ukulele, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. Their eclectic repertoire includes classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to old-time stringband and bluegrass, contemporary folk and original gems. While their versatility defies a brief description, perhaps “well rounded Americana” does it best.
The duo released their 45th recording in February 2017, “GET UP AND DO RIGHT.” The album features duets of some of their favorite songs by other writers such as Alice Gerrard, Tom Paxton, Ola Belle Reed and David Francey, with an original tune and original song for good measure. The last piece, “Song of Joy” is by their good friend Ken Whitely and includes percussion and a vocal ensemble the duo created with their own voices.
Cathy & Marcy have achieved the status of master musicians, but are also happily known as “social music conductors”, ready to start a jam session, mentor an up and coming artist or create an entire music camp to help others learn to play and sing. At past music camps they have taught Kaki King and Rhiannon Giddens banjo and through their long relationship with the Music Center at Strathmore they have collaborated with positive hip-hop/beatbox artist Christylez Bacon and helped the next generation navigate the professional music world.
They’ve earned two Grammy® Awards, in 2004 and 2005 for “cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins” and for “ Bon Appétit!” In 2003, they were GRAMMY® nominated for their CD, “Postcards” in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. They received another GRAMMY® nomination in that category for “Banjo Talkin’”. They have also produced recordings by Tom Paxton, Si Kahn, Ysaye Barnwell, Sam Gleaves, M.S.G. Blues Trio, Patsy Montana, Bonnie, Rideout, Bill Harley, Pat Humphries and others.
In 2004 the Martin Guitar Company honored the duo with their own signature Martin Guitars, the MCH-Cathy Fink Model and the MC3H-Marcy Marxer model. Influenced by Mike Seeger, Marcy re-discovered the four-string cello banjo inspiring the Gold Tone Company to make the Marcy Marxer model cello banjo, now played by Tim O’Brien, Ricky Skaggs and many others. She also designed her signature Kala Ukulele, now played by over 150 uke lovers. Cathy is a three-time winner of the West Virginia State Banjo Contest and plays banjos made by Kevin Enoch, Larry Sifel, George Wunderluch and Will Fielding.
As curators, performers and hosts, Cathy & Marcy produce two annual shows at The Birchmere, in Alexandria, VA. The Mike Seeger Commemorative OLD TIME BANJO FESTIVAL is in its 11th year and takes place in June. An annual Tribute To Hank Williams is heading into its 21st year at the prestigious club. Their annual weeklong Ukulele & Guitar Summit at Strathmore goes into year 9 in 2017.
Cathy & Marcy have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals, taught at close to 100 music camps appeared on the “CBS Early Show”, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered”. They have advocated in Washington for unions, health care for children and the rights and livelihoods of artists.
In their 35 years performing together, the Washington Area Music Association has recognized Cathy & Marcy with over 60 WAMMY Awards for folk, bluegrass and children’s music. They have performed with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Patsy Montana, Riders in the Sky and a wide range of musical luminaries.
Cathy & Marcy have toured worldwide from Japan to New Zealand, Vancouver to New York and everywhere in between. Shows include the The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (OH), Smithsonian Institution, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. American Voices Abroad chose Cathy & Marcy with fiddler Barbara Lamb to perform in China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu in 2013 for the U.S. Department of State.
Cathy & Marcy currently live in Silver Spring, MD and Lansing, North Carolina.
Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Under the direction of local teacher and barber Jim Lloyd, Sam took up stringband instruments as a teenager, including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp and dulcimer. With his mentor ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Sam found his voice and fell in love with the mountain love songs, which he carries into his generation with pride. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs and the stories that surround the music.
Sam earned a degree in Folklore from Berea College and performed for four years with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, directed by Al White. With that band and as a solo artist, Sam has toured extensively, performing at U.S. venues such as Mountain Stage and the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, and abroad in Ireland, England, Italy, Canada and Japan. Sam has performed with legendary artists in the folk realm, including John McCutcheon, Peggy Seeger, Mary McPartlan, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, and Sheila Kay Adams.
Sam writes new songs in the Appalachian tradition, telling stories about love, the home place, working people and present social issues in the mountains. Appalachian author Lee Smith has deemed Sam as “courageous as hell and country to the bone . . . the best young songwriter around.” Sam’s music has been featured by National Public Radio, Kentucky Educational Television, West Virginia Public Radio, Appalshop’s WMMT FM, KEXP, Exclaim!, The Windy City Times, Sing Out!, The Bitter Southerner, and Still Journal. AIN’T WE BROTHERS, Sam’s debut record of original songs, is produced by Cathy Fink and was released November, 2015. AIN’T WE BROTHERS has been reviewed by National Public Radio, No Depression, and The Bluegrass Situation. Peggy Seeger called AIN’T WE BROTHERS, “A stunning first album,” saying, “I keep very few albums that I am given. This one’s a keeper.”