Heidi Clare and Ron Thomason
Profiled in the 2019 documentary “Bluegrass Court Jester,” singer / songwriter / instrumentalist / comedian Ron Thomason founded Dry Branch Fire Squad in 1976 and is known to enjoy music–making more now than ever. His professional music career started when he was 13 years old, and he has collaborated with the likes of The Clinch Mountain Boys, Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. He has also been instrumental in the production of bluegrass music festivals.
Heidi Clare is widely acknowledged as the best old-time fiddler currently performing. Her style and the material that she chooses to perform keeps alive the hundreds-years-old traditions established by immigrant fiddlers who came to America starting in the seventeenth century and established the fiddle as a major American instrument for dancing, Appalachian ballads and hoedowns, and bluegrass breakdowns. She has performed with steadfast acoustic music artists such as Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Steve Earle. Heidi is a Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco as part of the Global Brain Health Initiative. She is establishing parallel music programs in San Francisco and Dublin, Ireland for elders as well as developing a radio show and podcast for the purpose of promoting elder advocacy.