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Nashville, Tennessee based musician, John Fabke, has been involved with a wide variety of roots music styles as a performer, educator, radio host and archivist/historian for the past 20+years. His interest in traditional music was sparked by a chance opportunity to see Ramblin’ Jack Elliot a number of years ago in Vermont. That experience opened the door to exploring the rich music of Woody Guthrie and the great pre-WWII blues and country music artists and the first-generation bluegrass greats such as Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers. Since getting turned on to those sounds, Fabke has been studying and performing the old-time instrumental and vocal styles on banjo, guitar and mandolin in blues, bluegrass, cajun and old-time country settings.

John has always had a strong interest in sharing this music with others. He has been in demand as a music instructor in both group and individual settings and has also had opportunities to share his love of music with folks of all ages in “Bluegrass in the Schools” workshops and from the deck of the Clearwater on the Hudson River and the schooner Adventuress on Puget Sound, Washington.

Fabke has also logged time as a radio broadcaster. From 1996 to 2010 he was the host/producer/engineer for the popular weekly folk/roots radio show Pastures of Plenty on WORT 89.9 FM in Madison, Wisconsin.

As a traditional music scholar, Fabke has worked at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville and at the Center for Popular Music at MTSU (Murfreesboro, TN) as an archivist and researcher. John played major roles in organizing and researching the My Homeland-Research Guide to Songs about Tennessee the History of Political Songs and Jingles in Tennessee and the Charles K. Wolfe Collection . Visit here for a recent interview with John about his work with the Wolfe Collection.

Fabke has appeared on a number of award-winning recordings with groups such as the Nob Hill Boys, The Cajun Strangers and Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys.

Selected Performances
Village Gate, New York City
Eagle Tavern, New York City
A Prairie Home Companion
Grand Old Opry
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Ashland, WI, Folk Festival
The Eighth Step, Albany, NY
The Turning Point, Piermont, NY
Festival of Appalachian String Band Music, Clifftop, WV
Augusta Heritage Workshops, Elkins, WV
MBOTMA Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Festival, MN
Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival, Madison, WI
Bastille Days Festival, Milwaukee, WI
Rhinecliff Hotel, Rhinecliff, NY
Sandwich Opera House, Sandwich, IL
Gays Mills Folk Festival, Gays Mills, WI
Chilicothe, MO, Bluegrass Festival
Stratford, IA, Bluegrass Festival
WPR: “Higher Ground,” with Jonathan Overby
IBMA Songwriter Showcase, Louisville , KY
IBMA Showcase, Raleigh, NC
Music City Roots Nashville, TN
Bluegrass Underground Cumberland Caverns, TN

portrait of John Fabke


With Nob Hill Boys:
Country Blues, 1999
Someday Sometime Somehow, 2001
Live at Mother Fools, 2003
“King of Bluegrass ”movie/DVD, by George Goehl
With Durable Goods:
Weary Traveler Compilation, 1998
Mother Fools Compilation, 1998
With Craig Kinney:
Simply Folk Sampler 3, 2005
With the Cajun Strangers:
Cajun Country Ramble-Swallow Records 2010 (winner of CFMA award)
With Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys:
Somewhere Far Away, 2014
With The Lonesome Aces
Lost Indian-American Fiddle Tunes, 2016 (608) 438-3981