John Keys

Hammered Dulcimer, Flute, Pennywhistle, Vocals, Cowbell

John has been playing music for most of his life. John grew up with his sisters playing guitars in the back yard. There were many summer nights listening to music and roasting marshmallows by the fire. John started with piano at Madeleine Grade School in Portland, Oregon.

He enjoyed music and playing, but he was devastated when the Nuns called his parent to say he could no longer learn piano because he played too much by ear. His sisters helped him continue music by teaching him little tunes on the balalaika. His first performance was in the 4th grade playing the balalaika and singing Rock a My Soul at the annual talent show. OK, it was not the arrival of the Beatles, but it was a start.

Over the years John picked up the saxophone and flute. He worked an entire summer to save up for his first flute. Once he had the money, he went down to Portland Music. While there he met an old blues musician that told him playing the flute was just like blowing into a beer bottle. He quickly changed the description to a Coke bottle since John was only 15 at the time.

November of 2000, John discovered the hammered dulcimer or tiompan, if you are Irish. He had seen it a number of years ago at the Portland Saturday Market. Mick Doherty, John’s 1st dulcimer teacher, was playing the dulcimer on the street corner. John fell in love with the sound of the dulcimer. John is married to his loving and musically patient wife, Carrie, and he has three children, Meg, Alyssa, and Tilor.