FootSpring is a duo – fiddle and guitar/mandolin – focused on the unique rhythmic needs of the contradance community. Occasionally, we invite talented local musicians to join us in our performances.
FootSpring was born in a serendipitous moment. A series of misfortunes led to a desperate late-night call: “Can you play with me in two days?” Except for a casual “Hi” at a dance, we had never met. After a single, rushed rehearsal, the ensuing dance left both us and the dancers breathless.
FootSpring is available to play for your contradance, English Country Dance, waltz session, or special events. Use our Contact page, or email us:
Jennifer Lane’s life is one immersed in the musical experience. She was born into a family of musicians, including a movie-organist grandfather and her sousaphone-playing, drum-major father who also played guitar for dance bands in the 50’s. Her mother’s cousin is the noted old-time fiddler, Clark Kessinger, and Jennifer proudly carries on the family traditions.
When she was only eight years old, Jennifer was inspired by a book about a young girl from a musical family (sound familiar?) who considered several instruments before settling on the violin. Since then, Jennifer has embraced the violin, viola, cello, piano, lap dulcimer, hammer dulcimer, and is now learning the harp.
One ‘skill’ that many violinists learn early in their careers is how to be a prima donna. Jennifer missed that class. She’s no musical snob; she loves all music, whether it’s Celtic, Cajun, jazz, classical, old-time, musical theatre, swing, you name it. Jennifer is particularly keen on fusion styles that blend two or more genres to create an exciting new flavor, sort of a spicy, rhythmic curry.
Although she can certainly hold her own in a solo role, she relishes the thrill of being a part of an ensemble, working with other players to construct a musical experience that is greater than the sum of the parts. Jennifer enjoys the intrinsic value of music – music for music’s sake – but she’s been a dancer for as long as she can remember, and she considers performing for dancers as giving the music a higher purpose than itself. Playing for contradances is a particularly satisfying challenge: the need to keep the music fresh and dynamic, giving it new life each time through the tune. She loves to feel the ebb and flow of the dance, and to express the dancer’s energy creatively through her violin, to move the dancers, and at the same time, respond to their movement.
Jennifer Lane lives in the Winston-Salem, NC area, where she teaches music, sharing her knowledge and passion with the young and old, and performs with as many regional music groups as she can fit the time.
Since he first began piano lessons at age seven, Buddy McManus was entranced by joyful rhythms and mysterious harmonies. His musical career has bounced around like a silver ball in a pinball machine. He has played many instruments in diverse styles, from trumpet in marching and mariachi bands to rock’n’roll guitar, to acoustic guitar and mandolin in swing and folk groups such as the New Jive Bombers and the Ruffians. Buddy recently suffered severe brain trauma, and his first words upon awakening were, “Anybody got a banjo?”
For years, Buddy watched in fascination from the stage at all of the fun the dancers seemed to be having. On a whim, in 2008 he finally decided to try it for himself. It was like nothing he’d ever experienced, adding whole new dimensions and a raison d’être to the music he’d loved for so long.
The little voices inside Buddy’s head constantly sing to him, and sometimes he remembers enough to copy those melodies down. His only regret is that he never gets to dance to the hundreds of tunes he’s written.
Buddy says that playing with Jennifer in FootSpring is the most musical fun he’s had since that incident with his brother-in-law and the pigs, but we don’t talk about that.
Buddy McManus lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Deborah, and three mutts. He wastes the daylight hours designing voice and data communications networks.