Bob Pope

Bob Pope

Bob plays flat top guitar and sings for the group. He started learning how to play the guitar in 1963 while living in Puerto Rico. He was strongly influenced by local, Spanish, classical and flamenco guitarists, as well as the '60's era folk boom. It was not until his Army days in 1977, when Bob attended the All America Bluegrass Festival in Louisville, KY, that the bluegrass bug bit him. He bought his first and only steel string guitar that same year and has been playing bluegrass music ever since. He has enjoyed playing in several local bands and can be found "pickin' and grinnin'" once a month at the Nashua Senior Center in New Hampshire. Bob has 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren, and lives in Nashua, New Hampshire with his wife Lisa Greenleaf.

Craig Engel

Craig Engel

Craig plays mandolin and sings for the group. His musical interest started with the saxophone when he was in fifth grade. He started electric guitar lessons when he was twelve, playing in a variety of rock bands. Jimi Hendrix inspired him. Craig first played his grandfather's gourd mandolin at home, learning chords from a book. He also fooled around with the ukulele. Craig became interested in bluegrass music when he moved to New Hampshire in 1989 and met some Bluegrass Picking Buddies. First playing rhythm guitar, Craig switched to mandolin and hasn’t looked back since. He lives in the Meredith, NH area with is wife enjoying time with his three grandsons, playing open mic at the Common Man in Ashland and playing with NewFound Grass.

Keith Hillyard

Keith Hillyard

Keith plays the 5-String Banjo. Keith adds over 40 years of experience to the band, having performed all over New England with many of the area's top bluegrass bands. His interest in the banjo and bluegrass music started in the early 1970s listening to WBCN, Boston's innovative alternative FM rock station. It was on that station where he first heard Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs playing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", the infamous theme to the Bonnie & Clyde movie. But Keith was a big Aerosmith rock fan at the time! His mother Lois and his Aunt Karen gave him his first banjo at the age of 15. With the help of his banjo mentors Herb Rolls, Bill Hall, Bob French and the "Earl Scruggs" instructional book, Keith was soon realizing his dream.

Elise Laflamme

Elise Laflamme

Elise plays fiddle and sings for the group. She started playing the fiddle at the age of 14 when she received a fiddle from her parents as a Christmas present. Elise spent the next 8 years taking lessons with Carl Rebello, a veteran bluegrass fiddler in Dartmouth, MA. It is enough to say that the fiddle is her passion. She loves to fiddle all the time. You can sure tell by her playing. Her influences include Jason Carter, Alison Krauss, Stuart Duncan and Mike Cleveland. The energy she brings to her performances cannot be matched. In addition to Monadnock, you are likely to see her sit in with several bands in the New England area. And be sure to catch her latest venture; Elise Marie and the Flames!

Ben West

Ben West

Ben is originally from Laconia New Hampshire and now resides in Goffstown. He first heard of bluegrass music while attending UMaine Orono as a young adult. It was there that his roommate introduced him to bluegrass and was bitten by the bluegrass bug. Ben started playing banjo and mandolin and finally settled on the upright bass years later. Prior to his pursuit of bluegrass, Ben played electric bass in several genres but blues was his favorite. He also played folk guitar and made the transition to bluegrass guitar a short time after college. Ben got serious about playing upright bass in 2012 afte meeting his wife, Elise, our fiddle player. Since then, he has filled in for several bluegrass bands but didn’t choose to join a band until 2020 when he joined Monadnock.