Bruce Ling was born in Chicago, and began playing guitar at age four under the tutelage of his father and uncle, semi-professional musicians involved in Country/Western and Rock and Roll, respectively. He says, “My earliest memories are of picking the melody lines to Hank Williams and Ferlin Husky records on a 1930’s Kay arch-top guitar”. He still uses this guitar when playing Delta Style slide guitar blues.
Moving to Grand Rapids, Mich., and spending the 70’s in various “Barnyard Rock” pick-up bands, busking on street corners in So. Calif., New Orleans, and Cape Cod, and doing occasional promoted shows, the 80’s and 90’s found Bruce working regularly with long-term bands. The venues included music festivals, private parties, corporate functions, etc. The music consisted of Bluegrass, Folk and Appalachian songs, and popular music in the genre of Neil Young, The Eagles etc. Interspersed were shows performing with blues bands on the electric mandolin.
During the late eighties Bruce began playing the mandolin as a result of a left index finger injury that lasted six months. The guitar couldn’t be chorded properly with only three fingers as the mandolin could. In 1990 he began playing the fiddle, winning the first of many fiddle contests three years later. He now performs and records with guitar, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, fiddle, viola, and cello, and also teaches students of all ages to play these instruments.
Admired for his musicianship and vocal range, Bruce has shared the stage with guitarist Jerry Reed, singer Bobby Goldsboro, guitarist Harvey Reid, blues man Peter “Madcat” Ruth, saxophonist Boots Randolph, and Grammy Award winning Reggae band Gizzae, and has opened for folk singer Anne Hills, and Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet with his band Beausoleil. He has performed with national award winning dulcimer player Rick Thum, and Jazz greats Chris Brubeck and Bill Crofut, and has fiddled for the moving feet of internationally known dancer Ira Bernstein, and Michigan hoofer/caller/instructor Dan Gorno. The first dance he fiddled for was at the prestigious Wheatland Music Festival, Michigan’s largest traditional arts festival.
Bruce owns a recording studio, and multi-instrumentally records and produces sound-beds for corporate DVD’s, commercial radio spots, and video soundtracks. His clients range from local businesses to the globally known Prince Pasta Co. In addition to recording and producing his own CD, How it all Started, he also appears as a guest artist on numerous recordings.
He took 1st place in the first fiddle contest he entered, the Wild Rose Moon Festival, in northern Indiana in 1993,and again in 1995. In 2001, at Michigan’s largest contest festival, the Shady Grove Fiddle Fest, Bruce took 1st place in Mandolin, 2nd in flatpicked guitar, and 3rd place in fiddle. He has since been asked to, and has been participating as, a contest judge at FiddleFest.
Since 1997 Bruce has fronted his own band “Hawks and Owls”, playing a mix of acoustic based Country blues, Bluegrass, early Swing, Appalachian, Irish, and original fiddle tunes and songs. He has also performed and spoken on many radio programs, stage productions, media interviews, and televised spots. His understanding of the evolution of traditional music is expressed in his performances, where the audience is treated to colorful facts about the homegrown music of the 18th and 19th centuries in America, and the immigration of music from the British Isles in those periods.
Hawks and Owls: the acoustic evolution of rural American music
House Concerts, Festivals, Lessons, Corporate Functions, Dances, Workshops, Residencies
Contact: Bruce Ling
P.O. Box 501
Comstock Park, Mi. 49321-501