Jon Pickow began his singing career at a very early age, appearing with his mother, Appalachian folksinger Jean Ritchie at concerts and folk festivals throughout the country, including The Newport Folk Festival, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, Fox Hollow and The Mariposa Festival in Canada. He performed with Jean over the years until her retirement in 2009 and has produced, and performed on many of her albums.
Jon has appeared recently at the Great American Dulcimer Festival at Pine Mountain State Resort in Pineville, Kentucky, and at Kentucky Music Weekend at the Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Kentucky, which is considered one of the premiere folk festivals of the region. He has also taught banjo and harmony at Kentucky Music Week in Bardstown, KY, as well as a seminar on Songs of the Ritchie Family. Jon has also enjoyed teaching and performing at The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina as well as Christmas Country Dance School at Berea College in Kentucky.
In February of 2016, Jon traveled to Ireland to give the Second Annual Jean Ritchie Lecture at NUI Galway under the auspices of the James Hardiman Library and Arts in Action. Jon was also honored to be present for the launch of the Jean Ritchie Scholarship, which is available to a student of Berea College in Kentucky to study at NUI Galway. It was an honor to perform with Mary McPartland, one of Ireland’s premiere traditional singers at the University, The U.S. Embassy and The Clé Club at Liberty Hall in Dublin as well as in Miltown Malbay in County Claire.
Jon toured domestically and internationally with Harry Belafonte, the Robert DeCormier Singers, the Gregg Smith Singers, and the Norman Luboff Choir. He has been a member of the Dusing Singers since the late 1980's during which time he contributed to the group's repertoire with several arrangements. His banjo and dulcimer playing appear on countertenor Andreas Scholl’s CD of American folk songs, Wayfaring Stranger.
As a producer, arranger, instrumentalist and singer, Jon has contributed to folksinger Oscar Brand's latest CDs, live performances and many of his radio programs. He also appeared with Mr. Brand in the Project America series at the 92ndStreet Y in Manhattan, where he has shared the stage with Judy Collins, Theo Bikel, Odetta, Christine Lavin, Josh White Jr., and Tovah Feldshuh.
Jon worked with Oscar Brand in the production of his weekly radio program Folksong Festival for WNYC radio in New York (AM 820) until Oscar’s death in 2016.
Jon enjoys performing and sharing the traditional music of his Kentucky mountain family, as well as the music of other cultures, and songs from the contemporary folk repertoire, accompanying himself on banjo, guitar and mountain dulcimer.