Photos of studio and Bruce
Tortoise Humor Recordings
Bruce playing banjoIn the last thirty-five plus years of professional playing I have had the good fortune to work with many famous musicians. They have all made an impact on my composing and performing. Hearing Johnny Cash talk about what he learned from Elvis was like a course in American pop music history. But I've learned it all boils down to the energy in a combination of emotion and musical skill that radiates from the performer into the music and into the audience. Every time I played on stage with Vassar Clements I was charged with his energy. Jethro Burns could always raise the musical intensity with his endless amount of energy and imagination.

I put the energy of me into my music. It is the combination of all I've studied and learned from life. English ballad forms, Coltrane and Davis solos, the essence of loving your child, tears and humor. It's all there

Currently I play in Lost Nation String Band, as I have for 25 years, the Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua, am the Artistic Director of Forgotten Wisdom using music to teach history, organizational skills and science in schools, lead the Bruce Burnside Quartet (guitar, cello, bodhran) which has enough diversity to become a mandolin quartet, banjo orchestra, Irish band and vehicle for all the types of original songs and tunes I write, and, at Tortoise Humor Recordings, I'm the Head Tortoise.

Bruce with mandolinMy music falls into: Americana, traditional, singer songwriter, instrumentals, bluegrassy folk, folk for kids, folk bands. Similar artists include: Sam Bush, Pete Seeger, circa. 1900 banjoists Fred Bacon, George Lansing.

Currently, I am one of a very few classic banjo players performing American compositions of the 19th century. Holding degrees in English and Education, I am also the Artistic Director of the non-profit organization Forgotten Wisdom, which specializes in school residencies teaching history, science, and organizational skills through music.

© 2006 Bruce Burnside