Black Bear on the Mountain
Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin - Bill Burke
Banjo and Vocals - Fred Coon
Bill and Fred met twenty years ago at the Encanto Park Music Festival in Phoenix, Arizona. For many years prior to becoming acquainted, they had both played and loved old-time music. Throughout their lives they each shared their music with others. By themselves, separately and together, and with noted national musicians, they have performed at numerous live concerts, on radio programs, including NPR stations, and on television. Their passion for old-time music is contagious. Since the day they met, they haven't stopped playing or sharing their love of their music with audiences everywhere.
Bill is a master cabinet maker with a waiting list of discriminating buyers. His furniture has been exhibited in the United States and Great Britain and evidences the crafstmanship one would expect from the great cabinet makers of generations past. He is also a luthier and applies the same master craftsman skills with his instruments as he does with his exquisite cabinetry. His speciality instruments are mandolins, guitars and banjos. His work reflects his high standard for excellence and his instruments have a tone that is recognized by musicians across the country as balanced and pure.
Fred owns a company that helps people find jobs. He is the author of a best-selling book titled, Ready Aim Hired. He is a contributing author to a new book, Business Model You. He is working on two new books to be published in the fall of 2012. When he's not helping people find jobs, lecturing and conducting workshops on job search, he loves to play his banjo and tell personal and family stories that are, in turn, outrageously funny, poignant and gritty. His banjo style was learned from his father and his songs come from nearly 300 years of family tradition in America.
Bill and Fred have just released their first CD " Black Bear On The Mountain" which is ditributed by Sidestreet Distributing and is now available for purchase from Elderly Instruments. Their CD is a collection of tunes that they like and their audiences have enjoyed for years. They hope you like the tunes.
Why did it take so long to get a CD done? Well, first of all, they were busy appearing on the CD recordings of many other musicians and second, they were just content to play live concerts and muti-media venues, over the years. Second, their decision to accept an invitation to conduct old-time banjo workshops and to perform at the 27th Illawara Folk Festival in Bulli, NSW, Australia in January of 2012, inspired them to take the plunge and produce a CD which the festival organizers said would be helpful. They all but sold out. While at the festival, Bill and Fred conducted two old-timey banjo workshops and performed on stage three times. According to several Illawara Board members and others who had attended the festival for a number of years, Fred and Bill were the only act to be allowed to respond to a call from the audience for an encore. They were humbled and the audience were treated to Fred's version of a Doc Watson classic, My Home Is Across The Blue Ridge Mountains.
When a promoter from Sydney heard them perform, and witnessed the audience response, he invited them to perform at The Gaelic Club in Sydney, the following Friday night. They shared the stage that evening with Lindsay Haisley and his wife, Cheryl Dehut. Lindsay and Cheryl are wonderful performers and Lindsay is one of the best technical autoharp players in the U.S. Some folks were there that had driven over two hours to enjoy the evening.