FOLK ARTS & CULTURE: Traditional Music & Dance Artist Directory
NAME: John Kirk
CULTURE: Scots-Irish American with ties to upstate New York
GENRE: Traditional and original songs and tunes, especially barn dance music
REGION: Capital Region
BIO: John Kirk is known for his lyric voice and versatile instrumental skills. On fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, ukulele, and tin whistle, John demonstrates a vast knowledge of musical traditions. He is also a composer, dancer, and dance caller. Sing Out magazine has said “John Kirk is a fine player on all his instruments and he sings quite well. With such a widely varied repertoire, there’s really something here for everyone. This is one that’s worth seeking out.” In addition to his work with his wife, Trish, and their band, Quickstep, John works with the Dawnland Singers, the Vanaver Caravan, and the Susquehanna Stringband. The Dixie Chicks recorded his song, “Long Roads”. Throughout his thirty-year career, John has performed with many folk luminaries including, Pete Seeger, Margaret McArthur, Allison Krause, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, The Woodshed All-Stars, and numerous others. In addition to performing, John teaches music at Bennington College in Vermont, and at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Lively fiddle tunes, folksongs, and fancy footwork are featured in a concert or workshop from John Kirk. His father was born in Ireland, and his maternal grandmother came from Scotland. Celtic influences have an important influence on John’s style and repertoire. Many years of playing old-time music have also shaped the selections of this versatile player. In concert, John can liven up the place with quick-pickin’ tunes and touch hearts with his sentimental songs. His selections range from ballads to bluegrass. Some feature original stories tied to his northeastern home near Saratoga Springs, New York. John has always made his living as a musician, and in addition to his vocal and instrumental abilities, John can charm audiences with his quick wit and animated stories.
LISTEN to “Susquehanna” (.mp3)
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (518)581-0255
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John Kirk, from Greenfield Center, New York.
Photo courtesy of John Kirk
DISCOGRAPHY: John’s solo recordings include:
♦ At Home (Quickstep Music)
John’s recordings with Trish Miller include:
♦ Quicksteppin (1997, Quickstep Music)
♦ Fly Around (2000, Quickstep Music)
♦ Fiddle Tunes of the North Country (2002, Quickstep Music)
♦ Lessons and Carols (2006, Quickstep Music)
♦ Shuffle About (2007, Quickstep Music)
John has done extensive recording with the labels A Gentle Wind and Scholastic, making recordings for young children. John and Trish’s Gentle Wind CD, Big Rock Candy Mountain (2004) won 3 national awards — Parent’s Choice, Library Association, and Children’s Web award.
John has contributed instrumentally to over 100 recordings by various singer-songwriters, bands, country, and folk artists.
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