Pete Wernick, known for his banjo playing with Hot Rize, and his singer-guitarist wife Joan present one of the West’s most engaging country duets. Joan’s clear, soulful singing and Pete’s masterful picking bring life to a diverse repertoire including traditional bluegrass, vocal duets and blazing instrumentals. In the early 70s the pair performed with the groundbreaking progressive bluegrass band Country Cooking, based in Ithaca, New York. Since 1976 they have lived in Niwot, Colorado in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Since 1990 they have performed all over the continental US as well as England, Ireland, Russia, Hawaii, Israel, Holland, and recently on national TV in Denmark. They also work together in presenting Pete’s Bluegrass Camps at locations around the US.

Pete’s “Dr. Banjo” handle is based both on his banjo expertise and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Columbia University. He has been nominated for Banjo Player of the Year in national polls and is also known for his best-selling instruction videos and books, and his banjo and bluegrass camps since 1980. For 12 years he toured full-time with the much-lauded Hot Rize band, and continues to play a limited schedule with the long-lasting quartet and with his Flexigrass band which also features Joan’s vocals. Pete’s critically acclaimed solo album, “On a Roll”, received several award nominations and produced a #1 song, “Ruthie”.

Joan, also known to music fans as “Nondi”, has sung with various groups in Colorado and hosted a bluegrass radio show on KGNU Boulder since 1980. Her natural sparkle and the couple’s on-stage repartee adds an extra dimension to their duet performances. Bluegrass Now magazine said, “Joan’s singing is guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any bluegrass traditionalist.” She is a member of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

Windy Mountain

Pete and Joan Wernick

“A marvelous collage of traditionally-flavored music.”
–Bluegrass Unlimited

“A fine effort, and a particular thrill to once again enjoy Joan’s vocals.”
–SPBGMA Bluegrass
Music News

Pete & Joan jamming in Prague
Pete & Joan jamming on a train in Russia

Dark Hollow, from Pete and Joan’s “Windy Mountain” CD

Pete and Joan’s Two Shows on WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour

This nationally syndicated show hosted by folksinger Michael Johnathon, has featured Pete and Joan twice, and is archived on the web, both as a TV (4 camera shoot) and radio show. Visit the WoodSongs Archive to watch or listen.

  • June, 2007 Pete & Joan with Monte Montgomery (show #442)
  • June, 2004 Pete & Joan with King Wilkie (show #311)

Four microphones on booms. Pete and Joan each use one vocal mic and one instrument mic (banjo & guitar). SM-58’s or 57’s are good, or whatever the sound company prefers.

They stand about 5 feet apart. Instrument stands are placed slightly toward stage right with booms extended toward stage left, permitting unobstructed views of instrument necks. Guitar mic directly under vocal mic, and banjo mic one foot stage left of vocal mic.

Each artist needs a floor monitor in front of them. Separate mixes are desirable but not necessary.

Artists need a flat-topped stool or small table center stage a few feet behind them, with AC for tuning device. Also a stool for sitting, next to Joan, stage left.

MIXING: The banjo volume when soloing needs to be comparable to the level of a lead singer. On backup, Pete will reduce his banjo volume by backing off his instrument mic. The guitar needs to sound full without overriding the vocals or banjo.

The musicians prefer that the sound engineer not ride levels once they are set. Mixing of banjo and vocals should normally be accomplished by varying proximity to mics. Guitar mic distance is generally constant, and volume is varied by volume of playing.

Contact: Pete Wernick 303-652-8346 or

Prefer by email (will give prompt reply):
If urgent, call: 303-652-8346 (Mountain time)

Dr. Banjo
7930-P Oxford Rd.
Niwot, CO 80503
or contact Pete directly via email at: