Scotch Plains, NJ -- Mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 42nd Annual New Jersey Folk Festival. “I’m honored and excited about getting this Lifetime Achievement Award for playing and teaching bluegrass music in New Jersey over the last 47 years,” says Barry.
The award was presented during the 42nd Annual New Jersey Folk Festival on April 30th. Following the award presentation, mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff joined Tony Trischka & Skyline with Kenny Kosek, vocalist/guitarist Danny Weiss, bassist Larry Cohen and guitarist Joe Selly for a stage event.
Born in Newark and raised in Irvington & Springfield, New Jersey, Barry has taken the American genres of bluegrass, jazz and blues around the world. He started out by forming the regionally renowned bluegrass band, Bottle Hill in college, then after graduation played with the all-star group, Peter Rowan & the Green Grass Gringos (featuring Tex Logan, Lamar & David Grier).
During his college years, Mitterhoff studied with jazz guitarist Ted Dunbar as well as jazz mandolin pioneers, Jethro Burns & Tiny Moore and also with classical mandolinist, Edward Bearman. Before graduating from Livingston College at Rutgers University, Mitterhoff was invited to join his first full-time bluegrass band, Bottle Hill. After graduation and with the break-up of Bottle Hill, Barry spent 3 years with the all-star group, Peter Rowan, Tex Logan & the Green Grass Gringos (which also featured Lamar & David Greer) playing some of New Jersey’s biggest festivals at Waterloo Village & Great Gorge. Tex Logan, of Madison, NJ, would become Mitterhoff’s close friend and mentor for many years until his death in 2015.
The 1980’s brought the creation of Tony Trischka & Skyline, a band initially formed to do school assembly programs about bluegrass who went on to record 4 albums while touring the states as well as playing overseas in Europe and Asia. Barry’s band, Silk City formed in the early 1990’s with guitarist and vocalist, Dan Weiss and bassist, Larry Cohen. Trischka, Weiss & Cohen are performing with Mitterhoff at this year’s NJ Folk Festival as well as Joe Selly & Kenny Kosek. He is thrilled to be receiving this honor from the New Jersey Folk Festival.
After three years, Barry moved on to the groundbreaking international bluegrass band, Tony Trischka & Skyline. Skyline was a major proponent of the “newgrass” sound. Known for jazz-infused riffs and extensive use of harmony in their singing, they recorded 4 albums while touring the States, Europe and Asia.
Barry formed his band, Silk City in the early 1990’s with guitarist and vocalist, Danny Weiss and bassist, Larry Cohen. Silk City, a nickname given to Paterson, New Jersey during its prosperous era of silk production, is also the name of Barry's solo recording, released in 1992. The band still performs today.
For the last 12 years, Barry has been the master-mandolinist and multi-instrumentalist with Hot Tuna and Jorma Kaukonen touring worldwide and playing on their several recordings during those years.
Wherever they tour, Barry has always returned home to New Jersey, raising his family, enriching the community through teaching and workshops, playing with life-long friends, area klezmer bands, and even with a Phillipine ensemble!
The 42nd Annual New Jersey Folk Festival will shine its Heritage Spotlight on bluegrass, which originated with Irish, Scottish, and English immigrants in Appalachia and has evolved into its own American genre.