Chattanooga multi-instrumentalist and mountain dulcimer maestro Butch Ross has tackled everything from Radiohead to Bach and come away with a renewed appreciation for what the humble dulcimer is capable of. No genre is off-limits, nor is there a limit to what Ross has envisioned for this specific instrument. The dulcimer is an unassuming thing, with a handful of strings and a history that feels embedded in the lineage of countless Appalachian musicians. But Ross has taken it and made it something more, something remarkable and versatile. His music is born from his respect for its abilities, a respect born from the years he's spent prying apart its pieces and discovering new sounds where none existed before. It is this groundbreaking and iconoclastic approach that caused ukulele-virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro to comment, "Now I know what a dulcimer is supposed to sound like."
Ross had been a touring singer/songwriter when he was given a mountain dulcimer as a birthday present. At first, the instrument was a curiosity but before too long it became his instrument of choice. A chance meeting with musician, author and producer Robert Force (himself a dulcimer iconoclast) led to the 2005 release The Moonshiner's Atlas and a complete change of focus.
Since then Ross has become an in-demand performer at folk and dulcimer festivals through the US and Europe. He's performed at such festivals as the Central Ohio Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Lancaster (UK) Music and the prestigious Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Ross' most recent release is called "Found Objects." It's a collection of original compositions, outside-the-box covers, original tunes, mashups and thoroughly unexpected arrangements of traditional songs. An eclectic mix that led Times-Free Press reporter Joshua Pickard to call it "a sound both experienced and timeless, a result of its celebrated past and boundless future."