Hubbard Street Music, 34 Hubbard St, Concord, Massachusetts 01742
LIGHTNING IN THE EAST makes sparks fly, playing traditional Southern Appalachian music with a unique combination of authenticity, virtuosity, and passion. Its members, who have performed with the very best in old-time, bluegrass, and Cajun music, are: John Hoffmann, also of Long John and the Tights as well as Mac Benford and UpSouth, on fiddle, banjo, and vocals; former Blue Grass Boy and current Troublesome Creek Banjoist Steve Arkin on banjo and guitar; and Erica Weiss, currently performing with renowned Cajun band Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew, on guitar, fiddle, and vocals. The band’s repertoire runs the spectrum from red-hot fiddle tunes to haunting ballads. Lightning in the East has set the house on fire in previous appearances, and is ready to strike again!
JOHN HOFFMANN is a fiddle, banjo and guitar player who has been at the bleeding edge of the old-time revival since the late 1970′s. Starting out as a banjo player in Ithaca, New York as a member of the Tompkins County Horseflies, he segued to fiddling in the early 1980′s. John has played in various old time bands, joining with Mac Benford in the Haywire Gang and UpSouth, as well as a member of Ithaca’s Long John and the Tights, with Stefan Senders, Jim Reidy, Jody Platt, Randi Beckmann and Sally Freund. Over the years, John has garnered a number of awards for his playing at Mt. Airy, Galax, Clifftop and the Wheatland Music Festival.
STEVE ARKIN grew up in New York’s legendary music scene, playing both old-time and bluegrass. In 1964 Steve played banjo with Bill Monroe, who was quoted in James Rooney’s book, BOSSMEN, naming him “The best backup banjo player I ever heard.” Steve has won many banjo contests and played in many bands (including early bands with David Grisman, Jody Stecher, Maria Muldaur), progressive Boston-based bluegrass band Northern Lights, and with the highly-praised old-time string band, Troublesome Creek. In his Old Time Herald review of Troublesome Creek’s album FAST AS TIME CAN TAKE ME, Pete Sutherland wrote: “Arkin’s adroit playing achieves that most rare combo of beautiful, intricate melody and absolute pedal-to-the-floor drive—he is every bit the wind in the sails of this band.” Steve has taught both bluegrass and old-time banjo for five decades–his students have included Marty Cutler, Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn and Tommy Makem. He is a member of the teaching staff for Banjo Camp North in Charlton, MA and also for Blue Ridge Old Time Week at Mars Hill College in North Carolina.
ERICA WEISS fell head over heels in love with old-time Southern Appalachian music in the ‘90s, (after a past that included conducting the Yale Slavic Chorus), was lucky enough to learn from some of the great old masters, and dove head first into rhythm guitar. Since then, and many Southern journeys later, she feels honored to have performed with many of today’s most exciting musicians, including those in Lightning in the East. With the bands Rhythm Method String Band and the Corndogs, she has played for dances up and down the East Coast; with the old-time country band Killer Bees, she sings and plays fiddle as well as guitar. Currently she is frequently heard raising a ruckus with Cajun band Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew at dances and festivals up north and in Louisiana.. She is also excited about a new recording with old-time trio, the Square Peg Rounders. Erica has backed up winners in fiddle and banjo contests, placed in folk song at Fries, VA and placed numerous times in the band competition at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax VA. In addition to guitar, she has taught workshops in Cajun and Old-Time Band, old-time fiddle, Balkan singing, Cajun and Zydeco dance, and contra, square and folk dance at numerous camps and festivals. She will be on staff for the third year at Summer Acoustic Music Week (SAMW), the WUMB- sponsored adult music camp in New Hampshire.
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Experience Level: Expert/Professional
Occupation: book publishing
banjo (clawhammer & 3-finger) and guitar
Sources: Ed Haley, Luther Strong, John Salyer, Bill Stepp, Edden Hammons, Marcus Martin, P.T. Bell, Tommy Jarrell, Emmett Lundy, John Summers, etc.
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Last Visit 4/10/2021
Played old-time and bluegrass banjo for 50 years. Former Blue Grass Boy. Former member of many other bands, including Downstate Rebels, Blue and Lonesome, Northern Lights, Troublesome Creek, American Flyer. Play occasionally with Lightning in the East, Rhythm Method, Out of the Woods, Quasimodal, Dead Sea Squirrels, Atomic Fireballs.
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