Bio

skipSkip Gorman was introduced to traditional music early in his life at the age of eight, when he received his first guitar and a Jimmie Rodgers recording  .  For over half a century Skip has enjoyed singing, playing and performing an impressive and varied palette of traditional American and Celtic folk music. An accomplished singer, guitarist, fiddler and mandolinist, Gorman has completed over 15 recordings, having earned a prestigious NAIRD (INDIE) award for Rounder Records after which he established his own record label, OLD WEST RECORDINGS. Filmmaker Ken Burns has used Skip’s original music in four of his celebrated documentaries. He has appeared on Garrison Keillor’s  ” A Prairie Home Companion”, toured with the US Embassy in Chile, Argentina and Paraguay, performed at World Fiddle Day in Co. Kerry Ireland and been cast as Roy Faulkner, the Kansas singing cowboy in the highly acclaimed Lone Chimney production of the film HOME ON THE RANGE . While growing up he was lucky to have the opportunity to see musicians like the legendary Texas fiddler, Eck Robertson, Bill Monroe, Maybelle Carter and Muddy Waters at the historic Newport Folk Festival. An encounter with Monroe at age fourteen was a pivotal moment in the young musician’s life, and aside from being a masterful cowboy singer and fine fiddler, Gorman is one of the premier mandolinists in the style of Bill Monroe.

While he pursued a degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish at Brown University, Gorman played in various old-time music and bluegrass bands, including a stint with bluegrass legend, Frank Wakefield. After graduating, Gorman traveled to Ireland and Scotland, where he explored the Celtic roots of American music with masters like Johnny Doherty, Sean Maguire and Aly Bain . And to this day, Skip remains an accomplished Celtic as well as American-style fiddler. In 1973, he headed to graduate school in Utah, where he began collecting rare recordings by early cowboy singers like Carl T. Sprague, Jules Verne Allen and Powder River Jack Lee. While in Utah, he performed the music of Western pioneers with the Deseret String Band and in 1977 went on to record his first album of old-time cowboy songs and fiddle tunes, Powder River. This seminal recording on Folk Legacy Records along with his Trail to Mexico (1983) were among the very first attempts by a folk revivalist musician to reintroduce the older traditions of the music of the American cowboy.

Skip returned East and taught high school Spanish and history for twelve years. During these years, he performed with Rick Starkey, of Martin Guitars in a bluegrass duo, Rabbit in a Log, and released a solo instrumental recording, The Old Style Mandolin Vol 1. One of the tunes from this album, Cowboy Waltz, was featured in Ken Burns’ acclaimed BASEBALL PBS documentary behind the slow motion pitching of the great Walter Johnson. In 1995 Gorman’s Rounder debut, A Greener Prairie, was released to universal acclaim. It was named one of the top ten folk recordings of the year by the Boston Globe, which called it “one of the most masterful and flat-out gorgeous cowboy albums to lope down the trail in years . …a folk masterpiece.” In 1999, Gorman released his eagerly awaited third Rounder album, A Cowboy’s Wild Song to His Herd, which has the honor of being selected by Amazon.com as one of the Top Ten Folk CDs of 1999 .

Skip’s latest recordings are: “Trails , Rails, Hills & Tales, the Donegal Cowboy ” with singer / fiddler Kate MacLeod.  He is currently working on an extensive set of Celtic fiddle cds , “Skip Gorman’s Celtic Fiddle Rambles.”