Fun with Fiddle and Guitar! Interview with Suzy & Eric Thompson

Suzy and Eric Thompson are new comers to the Folk School and we excited to welcome them. They have devoted their lives to the pursuit of old-time American music. Using fiddle, mandolin, guitars, Cajun accordion, banjo (and the occasional odd instrument such as the ten-stringed cuatro) they bring these early 20th century sounds right into the present day. 

To get a taste of their unique style, check out Suzy & Eric YouTube Channel.

Read more about Eric & Suzy and their class in our interview below! Interested in the class? Register today to secure your spot.

JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming week-long music class, “Fun with Fiddle and Guitar” from July 28- August 2. Is it for all levels of skill?

ST: In our class Fun with Fiddle & Guitar, which is also open to Dulcimer and Mandolin  players, we will learn easy, fun songs & tunes, old-time music, down-home blues, and even a bit of Cajun music. We’ll tailor the material to the interests of the students, and focus on playing as a group. Instant band!!

JCCFS: You and Eric are also teaching the following weekend class “Guitar Weekend- Getting to the Next Level” on August 2-4. Tell us a little about that too? 

ST: Yes, of course! The Guitar Weekend- Getting to the Next Level on August 2-4,  we will be teaching both flatpicking and fingerpicking. In that class we’ll tailor the material to the interests and levels of the students. Both classes will help improve your ear-learning skills, and help get you on your way to the next level, whether that is accompanying or playing leads. You will get one-on-one instruction from us!

JCCFS: What can students expect to leave with? 

ST: Students will be learning to improve their ear-learning skills, learn some new songs and tunes, and experience the joy of making music as a group.

Suzy & Eric performing

Music class in the music studio!

Eric & Suzy Thompson

The beautiful Davidson Hall.

JCCFS: Tell us a little more about yourself for those who are unfamiliar.

ST: I’ve been exploring various kinds of music on fiddle and guitar for more than 50 years now – old-time Appalachian tunes and songs, Louisiana Cajun dance music, and of course the blues! I love to give others the opportunity to share in the joy of music-making, whether on their own or with friends. Music is one of the best ways to meet other people!

JCCFS: What do you enjoy most about teaching?

ST: After 50 plus years of exploring music, Eric and I both have lots of good stories to tell and it’s great fun to share these. Playing music with others is my favorite thing to do in music, and that’s what we’ll be aiming for with these classes. The feelings of fellowship, the satisfaction in creating music in a group, the enjoyment of learning new songs – these are why I love music!!

JCCFS: This will be your first time teaching at the Folk School. What do you most look forward to?

ST: We’ve been hearing about the Folk School for many years and look forward to experiencing it!

JCCFS: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

ST: We’ve drawn inspiration from old 78s and field recordings, but most of all, from our interactions with some of the great masters of Appalachian and Cajun music, such as North Carolina fiddler Benton Flippen and Cajun fiddle legend Dewey Balfa.

JCCFS: Wonderful! We are stoked to welcome you to Brasstown! Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?

ST: Our Facebook: either our personal pages Suzy Thompson or Eric Thompson. We also have a musician page Eric &Suzy Thompson. Our website is

Student’s playing music on the porch of Davidson Hall.

Upcoming Classes with Eric & Suzy

Fun With Fiddle and Guitar (Mandolin and Dulcimer, Too!)

July 28- August 2, 2024

Learn easy and fun songs and tunes from a variety of American South sources – old-time mountain music, down-home blues, even some Cajun music – on fiddle and guitar. (Mandolin and dulcimer players are welcome, too, pending approval by instructors.) Guitarists will focus on guitar accompaniment (i.e. rhythm guitar) and, for those who want, beginning melody guitar. Fiddlers will improve their by-ear learning and gain new techniques to make playing more satisfying. Some one-on-one instruction too!

Guitar Weekend – Getting to the Next Level

August 2-4, 2024

Learn basic to more advanced flatpicking guitar technique from not one, but two skilled instructors. Choose to focus on strumming for accompaniment, bass runs and how to get started on simple leads or approach the next level, focusing on more complex technique for both the left and right hands. All levels will learn similar repertoire with opportunities to enjoy playing together as a group. Everything will be taught by ear. Lyric and chord sheets will be provided.

About Suzy & Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson has been a folk guitar fixture for six decades, from his teenage teams with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. Over the years he has devoted himself to traditional music, exploring old-time country, bluegrass, blues, Cajun and Irish styles. Known as an engaging, relaxed teacher, his instructional books and videos are published by Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workship, Mel Bay, and Backbeat Books. Eric’s taught at many camps including Kamp Kaufman, Augusta Old Time & Cajun Weeks, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Lark In the Morning, and others.

Suzy Thompson has performed and recorded as a guitarist with Del Rey, Mary Flower and Kathy Kallick. She’s taught guitar for multiple years at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Centrum Country Blues Week and Menucha Blues In the Gorge.

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