Cumberland Gap Connection is a highly energetic bluegrass band with a sound all their own. This 4 piece group is comprised of musicians from Kentucky and Tennessee. Cumberland Gap Connection strives to take their driving style of bluegrass to the next level with aggressive instrumentation mixed with a distinctive vocal harmony style. CGC is currently in the studio finishing up their fourth project, which is expected to be released in early 2011, and has been dubbed already, by those who have had a sneak peek, as the best music from the band to date. The most current project entitled “Grandpa’s Swing”, has met with much success, as the song “Gravel Springs” was in the Top 10 on the Bluegrass Now Fan’s Choice Top 20 charts eight of nine months, earning the No. 1 spot in bluegrass for the months of July and September in 2008. While continuing in the tradition of playing some of the “old standard” songs in bluegrass, CGC prides themselves in performing as much original material as possible. The band does this not only for the sake of being different, but just to be who they are, musicians with the common goal of pleasing fans and promoters by doing what they love to do.
Originally from Florida, Kayton moved to Nashville in 1967. Although already a great steel guitarist, he began playing rhythm guitar for Hank Snow. The next year he moved to the steel in Hank’s band and stayed there for 30 years. Kayton toured the world with Hank Snow’s Rainbow Ranch Boys as well as the Grand Ol’ Opry. After Hanks passing in 1999, Kayton continued to perform, recording with a “who’s who” of music legends – John Fogerty, Allison Krauss, George Jones, Hank Williams III and many others. His latest trip to the studio was with Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives where Kayton played on the title track of the “Ghost Train” cd. Kayton is a one of a kind steel guitarist that all the Nashville musicians look up to. On and off stage he is warm and funny. Chris Scruggs calls him “the world’s oldest teenager”. Catch Kayton on the road with Rob McNurlin.
Rob McNurlin was raised in eastern KY, the hymns in Church, the Johnny Cash tv show, a harmonica from his grandmother, his parents record collection and a guitar on his 9th Christmas set him on a very musical path. He began studying traditional music learning hundreds of folk, hillbilly-blues and Gospel songs. Inspired by Cash, Bob Dylan and Hank Williams he started writing songs and mixing these originals with the traditional. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott took him under his wing and on the road which lead to road work with Jorma Kaukonen and Hot Tuna.
Rob has released 7 cds including “Cowboy Boot Heel”, recorded at Johnny Cash’s Cabin Studio and produced by his son John Carter Cash. His latest cd is “Rhinestoned” a collection of country songs. McNurlin has toured the USA, England and Australia. His songs have been used in several films. He has appeared on several syndicated TV shows and hosted his own show “The Rob McNurlin Ranch Party.”
Now these boy will take you through the hills of ol’ Kentucky, bearing the stores, traditions and liquor that date back a century. This old-time band delivers with an intensity that would knock the sock right off of their forefathers’ feet.
Hailing from the back woods of PeWee Valley, Kentucky, Whiskey Bent Valley pay’s homage to their southern kin.Songs from the tobacco fields to the rivers, iron skillets to moonshine stills, upbeat and professional, this band posesses the skill to honor history and preserve the instruments, their style and every authentic nuance of the day. With their sense of fashion, From overalls to string ties, straw hats to silk vests, along with a turbo charged performance, their approach breathes fire into this vintage genre.
Blending their instrumental and vocal talents are, JR on the barnyard fiddle, the bands founder, Mason Dixon is behind his unique style of clawhammer and three-finger style banjo, mandolin and guitar. Standing tall with his doghouse bass is the bands youngest member Leroy Jones. The newest member of the band bringing his hard drivin old time style of banjer and guitar Mr. Chance Wagner.
The Stuart Brothers are world renown for their masterful performances of Appalachian fiddle and banjo duets. Trevor and Travis were born and raised in Bethel , a rural farming community in Haywood County, NC — an area of magical beauty where the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains meet and once the ancient Cherokee settlement of Sonoma. These majestic ranges surrounded the young brothers with the rich musical and cultural environment of Appalachian fiddle tunes, Baptist spirituals, banjo pickers, all night square dance shindigs and poetic tale weavers.
Having performed together for 30 years Travis and Trevor have also toured and recorded with step dancer Ira Bernstein, songwriter Martha Scanlan, Jim and Jennie and the Pine Tops, Dirk Powell Band, Rayna Gellert, Foghorn Stringband, Riley Baugus, and many more.
The Stuart brothers have two recordings : Pretty Little Widow, (Yodel-Ay-Hee), and Mountaineer (Old 97 Wrecords) and have appeared on numerous recording with a range of many diverse artist from NC Folk Heritage award winner Red Wilson to most recently New York City’s roots rock outfit Ollabelle.
Karen Collins is a coal miner’s daughter who grew up in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. The echoes of those early country sounds resonate in her singing and her song writing. Karen stays busy playing with her honky tonk band, The Backroads Band, her Cajun/Zydeco band, Squeeze Bayou, and the acoustic country quartet, The Blue Moon Cowgirls. She also plays solo shows and teaches harmony singing workshops. Her most recent CD, “No Yodeling On The Radio,” rose to the #2 position on the Freeform Americana Roots Chart and won a WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Association) Award for Best Country Recording for 2012. Karen also won a 2012 WAMMIE for Best Country Vocalist.
The Whitetop Mountaineers are a young duo, Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham, that hail from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Steeped in the mountain music traditions, their shows are a combination of country duet singing, fiery instrumentals, and high energy Appalachian dancing.
Their love of music and their region are evident in their performances; Mountain Ears Magazine says of the Whitetop Mountaineers: “they hold a deep historical respect for their past and a healthy appetite for the old time creaks, weeping strings, fiddling, banjo picking, and traditional bluegrass of their forefathers.
Whilst their sound is technically perfect, there’s also real personality and attitude mixed in there which makes it all highly believable and heartfelt with such emotion emanating from every pluck, twang, and vocal outburst.”
Clack Mountain String Band came to life in Morehead, KY and pays tribute to the rich and vibrant musical sounds of southern Appalachia. Inspired by the people and place that surrounds them, CMSB is connected by a common vein that injects a high level of energy into each song. Melody lines are played out on the fiddle with accompaniment from the “knock down” banjo and pushed by the vigorous rhythms of the guitar and doghouse, known as “Rowan County Rhythm.” Their vocal harmonies are also very distinct and tend to blend seamlessly not only with each other but also with the music. The tunes come from oral transmission, intense listening (thanks to the archives at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music), hours upon hours of jamming with all of their old time peers, and original compositions.
Rich and the Po’ Folk, Letcher County Kentucky’s best (and only) old-time string band, dig into a wide range of traditional mountain music old and new in their new recording When the Whistle Blew, released in November 2010 by Appalshop’s June Appal Recordings. The recording draws on the band members’ home territory of eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia, hot spots for one of America’s great musical traditions.
Rich and the Po’ Folk dates to the spring of 2006 when a group of friends got together with a common goal: to build a band on their shared love for the traditional music of East Kentucky and southwest Virginia. Taking their inspiration from some of the jewels of Appalachian music–fiddlers, banjo players, singers, songwriters– Rich and the Po’ Folk take the work of Old Time giants such as Art Stamper, Ed Haley, Charlie Osborne, George Gibson, Addie Graham, and John Morgan Salyer and use fiddle, banjo, bass, mandolin and guitar to kick it up as only a string band can!
One of the most treasured and revered traditional Appalachian musicians of our time, Lee Sexton still continues to pick the banjo and regularly tour when not at home with his wife Opal and his beloved garden.
June Appal issued an LP of traditional material, Whoa Mule, in 1988, and an expanded CD version in 2004 with an additional 40 minutes of music. In 1999 he was presented with the Kentucky Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.
The New Harvest Brothers are a traditional gospel group based out of Dickenson and Russell Counties. The band consists of Mike Mullins on vocals and lead guitar and Jim Scott Mullins on vocals and rhythm guitar. Scott’s son, Jonathon Mullins plays upright bass. Tim Powers is featured on mandolin. They perform in two-part ”brother style” harmonies.
Both Scott and Mike were surrounded by music since childhood. Scott is a fourth generation member of the Mullins family singers. Mike comes from a family of bluegrass musicians. Their music has been featured at the Richmond Folk Festival and FloydFest. They continue to celebrate their mountain gospel traditions at churches, festivals, and community gatherings. Their latest CD recording, “Pressing On” was released earlier this year.
Will Caudill & Route 7 consist of Will Caudill– lead singer, Alice Campbell–tenor, and Fred Campbell–banjo player. Will, Alice and Fred have been together as a group for about four years now. They all are from Letcher County, KY. Donus Cook–mandolin player and Anthony O’Quinn–base player both joined the group about a year ago. Donus and Anthony are from Virginia.
Will is also a songwriter. He has three CD’s out which contain all of his original songs except two cover tunes.
Mountain Grace is a gospel bluegrass band with members hailing from Southeast Kentucky and Southwest Virginia. Founding members include Wendell and Linda Bartley from Ashcamp, Kentucky and Red and Jane Roberts from Jackhorn, Kentucky. Wendell Bartley plays lead guitar and does lead and harmony vocals while wife, Linda, also sings lead and harmony vocals. Red Roberts plays banjo and sings lead and harmony as well. Red’s wife, Jane plays mandolin and sings lead and harmony vocals. All four of these band members are volunteer programmers at WMMT 88.7. The Southwest Virginia members of the band are Anthony O’Quinn on upright bass and singing lead vocals, and Wendell Connell on rhythm guitar and singing lead and harmony vocals.