The Bays Family Irish Band, with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones

The Arbutus Folk School Presents – NOVA Concert and Workshop Series:

The Bays Family Irish Band (from Olympia, WA)
with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones (from Galax, Virginia)

Concert: Saturday, Jan 20th 7pm
Workshops: Saturday, Jan 20th 2pm

Ireland meets Appalachia!

Irish jigs and reels meet the fiddle tunes and songs of the southern old-time tradition. Famed Olympia-based fiddler Randal Bays and his family band are joined by Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones from Galax, Virginia, the heart of the old-time tradition. A night of wonderful acoustic music from two great traditions.

Buy tickets for The Bays Family Irish Band, with Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones

Location: NOVA School, 2020 22nd Ave SE, Olympia, WA 98501

Google map:

Workshop registration:  Select the workshop you want to attend by clicking the big red “Register for Classes” button at the top of this page. 

Randal Bays workshop description:

Irish Tune Workshop  Do you ever play an Irish jig or reel and wonder why it doesn’t sound very “Irish”? That’s what this workshop is all about. I’ll be teaching one or two tunes by ear and then we’ll talk about phrasing, ornamentation, and style…or “how do you make it sound like that?”  The workshop is meant for intermediate to advanced players and all  instruments, but bear in mind we’ll be working on melodies and not chords (that
will be another workshop!)  🙂

Erynn Marshall workshop description: 

Southern Old-Time Fiddle  Workshop – (Intermediate+)
This class will delve into Appalachian style fiddling which is the living tradition found in Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina (and now all over the world!). Secrets of bowing and other characteristics of old-time fiddling will be explored as well as getting that “old-time sound.” We’ll also talk about heritage players of the South and their style. Questions encouraged. Please bring a recorder or phone to class and your adventurous fiddling spirit! In the last part of the workshop we’ll get together with the guitar players and play a few tunes!

Carl Jones workshop description: 

Old-Time Guitar Backup for Songs & Tunes – (Intermediate+)
In this session, I would like to explore a few ideas that can give your guitar playing a boost and make it more fun to boot. Playing with a pick and fingerpicking both will be discussed as we incorporate some basic music theory to raise our comfort zone on the entire fingerboard. Being able to utilize harmonized scales, partial chords, and just knowing the distance between the notes of a chord gives more variety to what the guitarist can offer. Simple concepts that are easy to incorporate and sound great. For old-time fiddle tune back up, I strive to enhance what the fiddle is doing and not overplay or get “in the way.” Mainly, I hope to inspire you and encourage you to appreciate and enjoy the guitar’s possibilities. In the last part of the of the workshop we’ll get together with the fiddle players and play a few tunes!

Randal Bays and Family – Irish Traditional Music

“This is what it is all about… Irish music at its highest and deepest level.” –
Randal Bays is well known in the worldwide Irish music community as a fiddler and guitarist, with a string of recordings to his credit. He’s performed with many of the great Irish musicians of our time and has toured for many years in North America, Ireland and Europe. Randal is also highly regarded as a teacher of Irish traditional music. He co-founded and served for ten years as Artistic Director of the Friday Harbor Irish Music Week in Washington’s San Juan Islands. He’s currently Program Director of the Cascadia Irish Music Week, now in its fourth year and located at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Performing with Randal are his wife, Susan Waters, on fiddle and vocals, and his sons Willie and Owen Bays on Irish flute and concertina. They are following in the tradition of family music making in rural Ireland, going back hundreds of years and continuing to the present day. Family groups like theirs are often found making music for dances, parties, wakes, and gatherings of all kinds, in addition to appearing at concerts and music festivals.

The Bays Family recently released a CD called “A Rake of Tunes”, featuring the traditional instrumental music that forms the heart of their repertoire. This wonderful review of “A Rake of Tunes” captures the spirit of their music making.
Review: “A Rake of Tunes” By Randal Bays and Family

Margeson on the Music October 2014
The wonderful fiddle player, Randal Bays, has a new album A Rake of Tunes. It is a family project with Randal joined by his family – Susan, Owen, and Willie. This is Irish music at its most traditional and best. Brace yourself. There are 23 cuts. You hear a lot about different styles of playing Irish music in the old days. East Galway for fiddles. Roscommon for futes.  Sliabh luachra. Tons of them. Most of them have disappeared or been greatly modified due to technology and a wider distribution of the music. It is quite arguable that there never was an “east Galway style of fiddling” or “sliabh luachra style” of playing a tune. Rather it would be more accurate to say that these styles of music were not geographical but familial. There were definitive styles in which these musical families of Ireland played their music, and from that amalgam came a certain shared approach that would be given a name, such as sliabh luachra. The roots are in those magical families, and not the geography, per se. Which is why it is so lovely to hear this album from Randal and his family. This is not some international, high-powered group of young musicians bursting forth onto the festival and tour scene. No, this is Irish music the way it was born. It’s a wonderfully gifted family sitting together playing wonderful music. We don’t know how many cd’s A Rake of Tunes is going to sell, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. The point is the music—and on a deeper level, the point is the Bays family. This is what it is all about. Or supposed to be. Go to and get a copy of this. This is Irish music at its highest and deepest level.

Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones 

“Smokey and sweet – like the finest aged whiskey – that’s what Carl and Erynn’s singing and playing brings to mind.  A lovely touch in their playing and a beautiful melding of melancholy and cheerfulness which is exactly what I love to hear.” 

– John Doyle (2015)

“Marshall & Jones are not to be mistaken for anyone or anything else. More than ordinarily gifted, they find new truths in a musical style already notably devoid of falsehoods. 

– Jerome Clark (2015)

Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones ( are old-time musicians and inspired tunesmiths. They are married – in life and music. When they play, their instruments and voices blend like two forks of the same  river. Southern song-duets and soaring fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo tunes comprise their diverse concert sets. They play with ease, spontaneity and vitality. While rooted in the traditional sounds of older players, this duo stays true to their own muse. Carl’s honest songs can make your heart ache. Erynn’s spirited fiddling can enthrall. Together Carl & Erynn’s expressive, musical meanderings can transport the soul.

Carl Jones is an American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is widely respected for his instrumental talents and original songs about the joys and tribulations of day-to-day life in the South. Carl’s songs have been recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins with Tony Rice, and others. His song Last Time On The Road was on the grammy-award-winning album Unleased by the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Originally born in Macon, Georgia, Carl currently lives in Galax, Virginia with wife and musical partner – fiddler, Erynn Marshall. In the 1980’s he played mandolin with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake as part of the Rising Fawn String Ensemble and during the same period won 3rd place and a guitar in the fingerpick-guitar category at Winfield, KS. Carl has recorded many CD’s including Traveling Star featuring his original songs and a 2015 duet album Sweet Memories Never Leave with Marshall which has received great reviews. Carl is known for his fine musicianship on many stringed instruments, keen sense of humor, evocative songwriting, and as a charismatic teacher. Carl has performed or taught all over the United States, Canada and Europe. For more information please visit:

Erynn Marshall has carved out a niche for herself as an old-time fiddler in North America and abroad. She has played for thirty-five years, performed and taught at many music camps in the US, Canada and Europe. Erynn learned the nuances of old-time fiddling from visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers and singers for many years. Her fieldwork culminated in the book, Music in the Air Somewhere about West Virginia fiddle and song traditions (WVU Press). Erynn has also appeared in three films, recorded a DVD and five CDs including Sweet Memories Never Leave – a 2015 duet release with Carl Jones. She has won many awards including first place in fiddle at “Clifftop” – The Appalachian Stringband Festival –  in West Virginia (the first woman and person from outside the US to do so). Erynn lives in Galax, Virginia, tours with Carl Jones and the Bowbenders stringband. For more info please visit:

“You can hear love, intention, generosity, humor and soul in the music of Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones. They welcome us in and awaken a deep sense and feeling for traditional music that is carved right into our bones.” – Dirk Powell (2015)

With gratitude to our sponsors: