the bucking mules

a rocking stringband for public consumption

for booking click here

listen to/buy our music here, videos and photos below

Like the creature that inspires their name, the Bucking Mules can buck, snort, and throw down some old time music. Drawing from a deep study of old 78s and visits with an older generation of musicians, the band distills the essence of the tradition into driving performances that appeal to contemporary audiences. Their old time sounds and stage show have won over audiences at some of the bigger bluegrass and folk festivals around. With roots in Tennessee and Virginia and experience on stages all over the country, the band knows how to bust down on a fiddle tune, how to get square dancers moving, and how to belt out a beautiful old song. Comprised of some of the most exciting and accomplished players in the genre today, they are experienced and engaging performers. Their sets combine sizzling fiddle and banjo based tunes with traditional songs in harmony. All members of the band have extensive festival and camp teaching experience, informed and grounded in the regional musical traditions of the Appalachian Southeast. This band has gotten audiences grooving at notable festivals like the California Bluegrass Association's Father's Day Bluegrass Festival, the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association Festival, and Clifftop.


Joseph Decosimo fiddle, banjo, and vocals

Raised on Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, Joseph is keeping the old time music traditions of his region alive. In high school and college, he sought out the older fiddlers and banjo players of his region, learning as much as he could from them. Rather than presenting the music as a museum piece, he injects new life into the old tunes. He has shared his music at festivals, camps, and venues throughout the country. His fiddling has won blue ribbons at some of the most prestigious fiddle contests in the South, including Clifftop. A dedicated teacher of the music, he served on the faculty in East Tennessee State University's Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Program. 

Luke Richardson banjo, harmonica, and vocals

Luke Richardson's music rolls with the arresting and subtle beauty of the hills around his family's farm in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. With an intuitive ability to match the fiddle, Luke pushes the music along with grace, ease, and drive. His banjo playing has earned him a National Old Time Banjo Championship and a handful of blue ribbons. Dividing his time between the U.K. and Tennessee, Luke is an in-demand old time musician.

Karen Celia Heil guitar and vocals

A fixture in the West Coast Old Time scene, Karen began her pilgramages to the Appalachian Southeast about a decade ago,immersing herself in the music of the region. She is a guitarist with a fiddler's brain and has the rare ability to drive a tune while laying out the perfect foundation for a fiddler. Karen's emotive vocals add to the Bucking Mules distinctive sound. As an accomplished singer, fiddler, guitarist, and bass player, she has added energy to performances and dances on both the East and the West Coast. 

Joe Dejarnette bass and vocals

Joseph “Joebass” DeJarnette, originally from Madison County VA, has been playing and recording traditional American music for over 10 years. As a founding member of The WIYOS, he has toured the US, Canada and Europe, concluding in 2009 with 29 dates on the Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tour. He has performed at the Newport Folk Festival, Lincoln Center, the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival, and many other notable venues. Joe's distinctive bass playing, musical accumen, and joyous stage presence puts him in a category all his own. He resides in the mountains of Floyd, VA, and has a thriving business producing and engineering recordings. He directs the Augusta Heritage Center Old Time Music Week.