Here's the band getting pumped up before a show at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. (L to R) Back row: Erik (mandolin), Ben (guitar), Marty (bass), and John (banjo); Front row: Sam (fiddle), Sabrina (vocals), Lylee (vocals).


John - Banjo
John is a Pennsylvania boy who loves banjo because of the happy energetic sound it makes. If you ask his wife she says it like chalk on a blackboard! He likes bluegrass because it celebrates the everyday part of life without pretense, like life, it is both simple and complex. John is an architect who makes his living as a professional daydreamer. 

Sabrina - Vocals

Sabrina grew up on the California coast, where she learned to sing traditional Ukrainian songs in harmony with her dad and sister while sitting on the roof watching the sun set over the Pacific. Over the years, Sabrina has made attempts to learn the fiddle, guitar, ukulele, bandura, and piano, but her voice has always remained her favorite instrument due to its portability. In her free time, she can be found embarrassing her daughter by singing and dancing in public places, eating delicious food, and walking barefooted through the woods. 

Marty - Bass, guitar, vocals

Marty got his first guitar within days of The Beatles first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and never stopped playing. His guitar(s) of choice bear his name across the headstock. While he always preferred acoustic music he came late to the bluegrass scene when he realized there were alternatives to playing alone on a couch with four children trying to ignore his solo caterwauling. He plays bass in the band with an occasional foray onto six strings.

Erik - Mandolin, banjo, slide guitar, vocals

Erik's musical career began in the classical world of oboe and piano, which led to folk guitar and then to playing electric guitar in garage bands around his hometown of Wilmington. In the late-90s he became interested in country blues guitar, which ignited a latent passion for bluegrass banjo. But banjo players are a dime a dozen, so he migrated to the mandolin.

Ben - Guitars, bass, vocals, all the things with strings and frets

Ben was raised in northern California on a steady diet of classic rock, pop, folk, college radio, and sugared cereal. He has been playing guitar since he was a teenager, with musical influences ranging from R.E.M. to Gillian Welch & David Rawlings to Jimi Hendrix. When not playing with the band he works in higher education and likes piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

Sam - Fiddle, vocals

Sam is a Philly-area native who grew up on a bizarre musical mix of folk, rock, classical, and punk. When he's not playing the fiddle, he's probably writing software, making photographs, or any one of a number of other unsavory pursuits. (editor's note: "Unsavory Pursuits" was the runner-up in our name-the-band competition.)

Lylee - Vocals, guitar, bass

Local to the Philadelphia area, Lylee grew up with the music of peace protests, Peter, Paul and Mary, and psychedelia always in the background. During her career teaching at a Friend's school, her fifth grade students learned the folk songs which have provided the score to her life. Now retired, How to Trick a Bear begins a new phase of sharing new and favorite music.