14th Annual Pilgrim's Progression Dance Weekend ~ Lawrence, Kansas

More about our Pilgrim's Progression 2008
Caller and Band


About the Caller: Tom Hinds

photo of Tom Hinds

Tom Hinds has been dancing since 1979, and calling squares and contras since 1984. He is the author of a series of American dance books, including Dance All Night. Tom has taught at Pinewoods, Augusta, and Buffalo Gap, and other camps, as well as several tours in Denmark. He has also been a dance musician, and as a dancer, his step dance repertoire includes English clog, tap, and French Canadian / Cape Breton as well as Appalachian clogging. He’s also a world renowned chicken hypnotist! Tom lives in Charlottesville, VA.

About the members of Lit Splickety:

photos of Lit Splikety band members

Music to set the mind trancing and the feet dancing...

Mark Simos, an acclaimed fiddler in the old-time (1st place Clifftop '03) and other traditional styles (Irish, New England, Quebecois), has played for more than 30 years at dances, festivals and dance camp weeks from California to Sweden and Denmark. Also a respected Celtic guitar accompanist, a songwriter for artists such as Alison Krauss, and now a professor of songwriting (and old-time ensemble leader) at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mark is perhaps best known to the dance community as a prolific tunesmith. His inventive and compelling original dance music (or “traditional music from imaginary countries”) is featured on 4 of his own CDs, and has been recorded and adopted by musicians across the country. “Lit Splickety”, a rollicking Simos original favored by dancers, seemed a fitting moniker for this weekend's splendid lineup of veteran old-time and dance musicians; rooted in a traditional old-time sound, but featuring many Simosian creations and other new tunes.

At the heart of the band, interweaving with Mark's sinuous fiddle lines, is the sparkling melodic banjo playing of Brendan Doyle and the humming tenor guitar of Jody Platt. Mark, Brendan and Jody formed the melodic heart of Clifftop “campground band” the Cliffhangers, who have consistently placed in the trad band finals since their formation in 2001. Jody's unique TenorTone guitar, a redesigned revival of a classic early 20th century instrument, adds a fresh new sound captivating the ears of old-time and Celtic musicians and acoustic songwriters alike.

Rounding out the band are dance musicians extraordinaire Jere Canote (guitar, banjo-uke), Stuart Kenney's rock-solid beat on bass, and special guest Maxine Gerber on banjo. Jere is a beloved player at dances, festivals and dance weeks across the country, and was the unflappable guitarist on Mark's groundbreaking debut CD of old-time originals, Race the River Jordan. One of the most in-demand upright bass players on the contra circuit, Stuart has played with acclaimed bands Wild Asparagus, Airdance, the Sevens and others, and is a fine tunesmith in his own right. Maxine (and husband Brendan) are central figures in the active Bay Area old-time and dance music scenes.

Maxine, Brendan and Jody are featured on Mark's two-volume collection of original tunes penned at Clifftop, Clifftop Notes, with a sound that has been likened to “old-time Steve Reich.” “Like all great old-time music, it surges and breaks like the waves of the sea, as layers of groove advance and recede.” – Darol Anger.

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