Richard Taylor

"I graduated from Atherton High School [in Louisville, Kentucky] in 1959. I went to the University of Kentucky where I majored in English, graduated in 1963 as an English major, and worked there with the campus literary magazine. At that time it was called Stylus. . . . From UK in 1963 I went to the University of Louisville, where I worked on a master's degree for a year in English. I graduated in '64, and I was not certain what to do at that point, so I was persuaded by my father to go to law school for the next three years at the University of Louisville Law School. I had a rather not-what-you-would-call-extensive law practice, in either duration or intensity. I clerked in law school for my father's law firm, and practiced nearly two months before giving up the practice of law.

Alan Freeman

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1943, Alan Freeman finally came home to West Virginia in 1974, after having lived, traveled, and played guitar all over the United States and Europe, and he hasn't stopped performing and traveling in this country and abroad ever since. He always comes home.

Alan got his first dulcimer in 1976 and it’s the one he still plays. His first album was released in 1978. He has a total of nine since then, all very favorably received. Alan won first place at Galax five times in nine years (1977-1986), and has been the perennial West Virginia dulcimer champion since 1985 when they began having the contest.

Edgar Cruz

Those who have witnessed Edgar Cruz’s performance immediately become entranced at the precision, speed and complexity with which his fingers strike the strings of his guitar to create a symphony of sound unusual to just one instrument. Each year, Cruz performs over 200 concerts and has played throughout America, Europe and South America. He has been a headliner at The Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville, TN since 1995 and is a strong icon at most festivals in Oklahoma including Festival of the Arts, Paseo Festival, Sunfest, Global Oklahoma and more.

Patrick Dethlefs

(Pronounced “Det-Lefs”)

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Patrick Dethlefs now makes his home in Kittredge, Colorado. He first picked up the guitar at the age of 12 after some inspiration from his father and a little push from a neighbor. He began to learn styles such as rock, punk, and jam music, and on and on it goes. Then around the age of 15, he began writing his own songs. He remembers people saying, “Let’s learn this song,” but he always loved coming up with his own. That eventually paid off; Patrick was awarded The Best Teen Songwriter Award at Swallow Hill in Denver, Colorado in 2009. He also won Best Song as well as Best Performance. Quickly after, Dethlefs released his debut album, Stays the Same, which displays original songs as well as a few traditional tunes.