Rubin & Thomsen


LAUREL THOMPSEN: After a few years as an average piano student, at nine, Laurel Thomsen began playing the violin and immediately took flight. She trained classically with many fine teachers and in a variety of youth orchestras around the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz, California, the California Bay Area, at the University of Montana-Missoula, and in Italy. In 2003 she added the viola as a second instrument and although Laurel had always supplemented her classical training with an exploration of fiddle styles, at this time she began exploring alternative styles and approaches to playing in earnest. She began playing with bands, using the techniques she had cultivated in her classical training, but along the way developing her own sound and discovering her own expressions. Though she continues to play classically - at weddings, events, and in orchestras, she has also played in Celtic, Pop-rock, folk-rock, and tribute bands, backed up singer-songwriters in the folk, jazz, cabaret, country, and latin genres, done studio work, accompanied Sufi dancers, created traditional Indian devotional music for Kirtans, and for three years served as a regular performer in the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital music-therapy program. Since 1996, Laurel has taught hundreds of students in the Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Missoula, Montana areas, mostly as a private string instructor, but also as a youth orchestra string coach and clinician in schools. Laurel sees her instrument as an extension of her body and voice, a means to convey a full range of feeling and emotion, both the obvious and the subtle. She hears music as a story and when she plays, her experience moves her beyond just the auditory into a holistic experience of all the senses. To Laurel, music is a form of dynamic communication with herself and with others and she enjoys stretching the boundaries of her musical voice.
JON RUBIN: Jon Rubin was inspired to play acoustic guitar by Jorma Kaukonen, a disciple of the Rev. Gary Davis school of fingerpicking country gospel blues. From these rhythmic underpinnings has evolved an original fingerstyle applied to mostly traditional songs in the Americana/roots, Celtic and British folk/blues idioms. Jon has studied and attended workshops with legendary fingerstyle players Martin Simpson, Woody Mann, Duck Baker, Rick Ruskin, Laurence Juber and Bob Brozman.

Currently Jon leads acoustic string duos/trios in several lineups with award-winning veterans on violin/fiddle and bass. These players serve up a genre-busting acoustic sound long on musicianship and the natural flavors of wood and steel.

"Great guitar, great fiddle and a voice that bring Traditional Music to life." – David Stafford, KKUP Friday Folk-Off
“a f***ing brilliant guitar player” – Ted Silverman, N. Calif. Bluegrass Society 2010 Award Nominee
"skilled, controlled, thoughtful performance..." -- John Mount, videographer
"technically tight and risk-taking" -- Monterey County Weekly
"Yes, yes, yes, amazing show..these guys had a great sound. Would love to see them again when they come to the East Coast, or when I get back out west!" -- Gina D., audience member
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