The Hale Mountain Pickers are a lively and popular bluegrass band in the tri-state area, including southern Vermont, the NY capital region and Berkshire County in Massachusetts. Their name comes from a small mountain located in Shaftsbury, Vermont, where the band originated. The four members come from varied musical backgrounds, and their repertoire ranges from traditional bluegrass and gospel to country tinged soft rock.
Ed Ransom: Guitar, dobro, vocals
Ed, a Shaftsbury, VT native, first started playing guitar around the age of 16 and has been performing in various bands ever since. He first performed on stage in Arcata, CA while living there in the early ’90s.
Ed’s earliest influences were the Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead, with bluegrass not far behind. He is a lover of tight harmonies.
When not playing with the Pickers, you can see him fronting the Bennington-area country rock band The Ransom Notes.
Joni Charbonneau: Mandolin, accordion, vocals
Joni grew up in Adams, MA, playing piano at school and family functions. After moving to Connecticut she put aside her musical world for many years to raise her family. She started playing keyboard with friends in the Hat Band and later the Many Hatz bands based out of Fairfield County, CT. She discovered accordion as a way to jam in the acoustic music scene at outdoor bluegrass camping
Mandolin and banjo ukelele have now been added to her musical instrument mix. Joni has played onstage in Bennington County with many local bands, as well as in performances as a featured guest of Howard Fishman. She specializes in bluegrass music with country, blues and mellow rock influences. She now lives in Pownal, VT, with her husband, Mark.
Walt Kirby: Banjo, guitar, vocals
Walt lives in Saratoga Springs, NY and has been playing bluegrass and gospel music with various groups in the northeast for a number of years. He started playing guitar in college and took up the banjo after seeing the movie Bonny & Clyde and hearing their theme song, Foggy Mountain Breakdown. Walt is also heavily influenced by the Dillards, J.D. Crowe, Bella Fleck, and of course, Earl Scruggs. “I am excited to be playing with The Hale Mountain Pickers because they play not only a wide variety of “traditional” bluegrass songs, but stretch those boundaries with a mix of songs from other musical genres.”
Larry Betit: Electric bass and acoustic stand-up bass