Debbi Kauffmann is a powerful singer with a deep appreciation for both Appalachian and Irish music traditions. Born near Boston, she now resides in Glen Rock, PA, a musical hotbed that has produced many fine musicians. Mentoring with West Virginia singer Ginny Hawker, Debbi is a gifted vocalist whose lead and harmony singing and driving rhythm guitar is at the core of ROOTBOUND's sound.
Debbi was lucky to be born into a musical family. Mom sang, Dad played accordion and harmonica, and both loved folk music. Music was always an important part of family life. Debbi got her first taste of bluegrass music in the 1970's, listening to bands like Country Cooking in Ithaca, NY, where Debbi attended school. A short time later, in Madison, WI, Debbi was introduced to traditional Irish music and sang professionally for the first time with a local Irish band.
When Debbi began welding in a shipyard on Lake Michigan, she put down her guitar and didn't pick it up again for several years. Later, in Baltimore, Debbi rediscovered traditional Irish music and attended classes with singers Karan Casey, Frank Harte and Roisin White during annual Irish Arts Weeks in New York state. Debbi also had the chance to jam with great bluegrass musicians at the Sandpiper Inn in Dundalk, MD, and at the Arcadia Bluegrass festival outside of Baltimore.
After moving to Pennsylvania, Debbi crossed paths with old-time musician Bob Buckingham who introduced Debbi to the music. Debbi began attending jam sessions with Bob and other great York County musicians as well as travelling to festivals in West Virginia and Virginia where she had the chance to meet wonderful musicians from all over the country.
Debbi's most memorable moment was meeting her favorite old-time singer Ginny Hawker on the back porch of Halliehurst during old-time week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV in 2000. Debbi began to consider performing again after that meeting, and both Ginny and Tracy Schwarz have provided Debbi with invaluable teaching and support since that time.
The next year Debbi performed with the Back Burner String Band, an all-woman string band, and later with another all-female string band, Ladies In The Parlor. She has been a member of two local bluegrass bands, Walt Crider & the Old Time Way and Pasture Prime. In 2005, Debbi began performing with Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz. She has been teaching southern harmony singing at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia since 2015.
Click here for a schedule of Debbi's appearances with other groups.