about high strung band

High Strung is a Maryland-based bluegrass band which blends traditional and non-traditional material into their own distinctive sound. The band's musical influences range from Flatt & Scruggs and J.D. Crowe & the New South to the Lonesome River Band and Herb Pedersen, as they bring interesting melodies and drive to their performances.

High Strung's members have played in a variety of bands over the years and have been drawn together by their common interest in paying tribute to tradition while also venturing into other interesting and eclectic bluegrass.

"Our shows are filled with songs we get a kick out of playing, and we hope our audience can tell how much fun we're having."

- John Howell


Mike Casey

Mike Casey - Vocals/Guitar

Mike picked up the guitar when he was 8 years old and hasn’t stopped playing since. Originally from New Hampshire, Mike spent time performing and teaching music in Montana and California where he was a mandolin, banjo and guitar instructor at the famous "McCabe’s Guitar Shop". Mike now is the Instrumental and Choral Director at a private school in Maryland while providing powerful rhythm and lead guitar and lead vocals for High Strung. His versatility still has him as a long-distance member of a rock band back in Montana. However the other members of High Strung have, so far, resisted the temptation to plug-in and allow Mike to play a Hammond organ with this band!

John Collier

Randy Collier - Dobro

A native of the Washington, DC area, Randy discovered the dobro as a teenager, influenced by the styling of hometown dobro master Mike Auldridge.  Having played with several local groups over the years, Randy joined High Strung in 2008.  A fan of many musical styles, his eclectic musical interests include bluegrass, classic honky-tonk country, rockabilly, surf guitar, blues, swing, and classic rock.  In addition to playing dobro with High Strung, in the past few years he has woodshedded many hours of practice in his pursuit to learn rockabilly electric guitar.  Unfortunately, without much success!

John Howell

John Howell - Vocals/Mandolin

Affectionately known as "The Mayor" among band members, Johnny has been playing bluegrass for 45 years, 35 of those on the mandolin. In the late 70’s early 80’s, Johnny played with Baltimore–based band, Grass-Transit, and the Bluegrass Trucking Co. out of Washington DC from the early 90's through 2003. Johnny has a lot of fun being a part of High Strung. He enjoys the musical synergy between its members and the exciting music they play together. He adds, "The best thing about playing bluegrass is you get to meet some of the nicest people on the planet."

John Meredith

John Meredith - Vocals/Bass

John’s experience in music began at age seven when he started cello lessons with his aunt. He became interested in bluegrass as a teenager and naturally gravitated to the bass. He helped to form the Baltimore-based band, Windy Ridge, in the 1970’s and has filled in on bass with several other bands until joining High Strung in 2007. John has been influenced in bluegrass by performers ranging from The Stanley Brothers to J.D. Crowe and the New South. John enjoys working on harmonies and arrangement with High Strung. And Doc says a good practice consists of just the right amounts of playing and arguing.

Paul Schiminger

Paul Schiminger - Banjo

Paul’s passion for the banjo began as a teenager when he first heard Earl Scruggs on the album, "The World of Flatt & Scruggs". Since then his other influences include J.D. Crowe, Bill Emerson, Sammy Shelor, and Bryan Foster. As a member of the Willie J. Johnston Bluegrass Dance Band in Harrisonburg, VA in the 80s, Paul was introduced to a wide mixture of old-time and non-traditional music. Today his musical interests cross many genres, but a strong bluegrass melody with drive remains his favorite. Paul’s most important roles in the band are to remind Doc to keep his belt buckle from gouging the bass and make sure proper refreshments are served during practice.

Special Guest:

Sandy Robson

Sandy Robson

Sandy makes guest appearances at various High Strung shows, and is always a crowd favorite when she performs. She has the smooth and soulful voice that can deliver a variety of songs. A relatively new but enthusiastic fan of bluegrass music, her musical influences range from Hazel Dickens and Ola Belle Reed to Gillian Welch and Neko Case. Sandy also writes and performs her own songs on banjo, ukulele and guitar under the name Letitia VanSant. So why would a nice person with an angelic voice team up with a bunch of grizzled bluegrassers? Who knows, but it sure is fun!

All Photography by Jackson Photography