Performer Bios


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Doc Watson 1923 – 2012

All of us at the MusicFest n’ Sugar Grove are deeply saddened by the passing of Doc Watson Tuesday, May 29 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. He was 89.

Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson was recipient of the National Medal of Arts, a National Heritage Fellowship, and eight Grammy Awards. But to all of us he was just Doc.

While his rich baritone voice, brilliantly distinctive style of flat picking and warm personality will be greatly missed we all feel blessed by the time we spent up close and personal just listening to Doc’s guitar.

The Krüger Brothers

Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of abiding musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were 11 and 12 years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City who also had a very extensive musical upbringing, joined the brothers in the early 90s and together they established the incomparable sound that the trio is known for today.

Since a formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, their remarkable facility with their instruments and unique take on the American Songbook have made the Kruger Brothers a fixture within the world of acoustic music. Although initially staying fairly close to a traditional repertoire, the group later turned to song writing and composition in order to draw more closely from their personal experiences. The result is a catalog of songs distinguished by rich detail and an insight into the delicacy and complexity of everyday life. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work.

The Kruger Brothers personify the spirit of exploration and innovation that forms the core of the American musical tradition. Their original music, composed by Jens Kruger, is crafted around their discerning taste, and the result is unpretentious, cultivated, and delightfully fresh.

The Kruger Brothers were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for “Music from the Spring,” a symphonic suite composed and orchestrated by Jens Kruger, which premiered in 2007. In late 2010, the Kruger Brothers premiered the “Appalachian Concerto,” a concerto for banjo, bass, guitar, and string quartet. In addition to their regular concert schedule they perform these pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the country.

Through their numerous CD releases, radio and television performances, lectures, and collaborative efforts, the Kruger Brothers powerful artistic statement inspires and enlightens.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops


In the summer and fall of 2005, three young black musicians, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson, made the commitment to travel to Mebane, N.C., every Thursday night to sit in the home of old-time fiddler Joe Thompson for a musical jam session. Joe was in his 80’s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. He had learned to play a wide-ranging set of tunes sitting on the back porch with other players after a day of fieldwork. Now he was passing those same lessons on to a new generation.

When the three students decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dance halls and public places. They called themselves The Chocolate Drops as a tip of the hat to the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, three black brothers, Howard, Martin and Bogan Armstrong, who lit up the music scene in the 1930’s. Honing and experimenting with Joe’s repertoire, the band often coaxed their teacher out of the house to join them on stage. Joe’s charisma and charm regularly stole the show.

Being young and living in the 21st century, the Chocolate Drops first hooked up through a Yahoo group, Black Banjo: Then and Now (BBT&N) hosted by Tom Thomas and Sule Greg Wilson. Dom was still living in Arizona, but in April 2005, when the web-chat spawned the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, N.C., he flew east and ended moving to the Piedmont where he could get at the music first hand. Joe Thompson’s house was the proof in the pudding.

The Chocolate Drops started playing around, rolling out the tunes wherever anyone would listen. From town squares to farmer’s markets, they perfected their playing and began to win an avid following of foot-tapping, sing-along, audiences. In 2006, they picked up a spot at the locally-based Shakori Hills Festival where they lit such a fire on the dance tent floor that Tim and Denise Duffy of the Music Maker Relief Foundation came over to see what was going on. Rhiannon remembers being skeptical when this local Hillsborough, N.C., guy with a goofy smile and a roster of old blues musicians offered to take them on and promote their music. The band was still figuring out who they were and Duffy was offering to house them with people like Algie Mae Hinton, musicians who were not pretenders to a tradition, but the real thing.

The connection turned out to be a great match. While the young “Drops” were upstarts in a stable of deep tradition, they were also the link between past and future. They began to expand their repertoire, taking advantage of what Dom calls “the novelty factor” to get folks in the door and then teaching and thrilling them with traditional music that was evolving as they performed. They teased audiences with history on tunes like “Dixie”, the apparent Southern anthem that musicologists suggest was stolen by the black-face minstrel Dan Emmert from the Snowden family, black Ohio musicians who missed their warm, sunny home. The “Drops” gave new energy to old tunes like John Henry and Sally Ann, adding blues songs, Gaelic acappella, and flat-footing to the show.

The band moved up through the festival circuit, from the Mt. Airy Fiddler’s Convention to MerleFest. They shared the stage with their new fan, Taj Mahal, and traveled to Europe. In 2007, they appeared in Denzel Washington’s film, The Great Debators and joined Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion. In 2008, they received an invitation to play on the Grand Ole Opry. “The Drops were the first black string band to play the Opry,” Duffy notes. “The Opry has a huge black following but you don’t see that on stage.” Opry host, Marty Stewart, pronounced the performance a healing moment for the Opry.

Off-stage, the connection to Music Maker Relief Foundation meant a place to record. In 2007, Music Maker issued Dona Got a Ramblin’ Mind and, in 2009, Carolina Chocolate Drops & Joe Thompson. In 2010, with the release of their Nonesuch recording, Genuine Negro Jig, the group confirms its place in the music pantheon. With its tongue in cheek, multiple-meaning title, the album ranges boldly from Joe Thompson’s Cindy Gal to Tom Waits’ Trampled Rose and Rhiannon’s acoustic hip hop version of R&B artist Blu Cantrell’s Hit ‘Em Up Style.

Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity”. If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s OK to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.

DLQ-Press-Photo-9748-Copy-2-1024x796Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

With almost 40 albums to their credit, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA Award nominations, and are seven-time winners of IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year Award. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are the reigning Inspirational Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year, crowned in October at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, on the heels of Lawson’s induction into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium on September 27, 2012.

Lawson was heralded by journalist Craig Havighurst as “one of music’s lions” following Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s performance at the 2011 IBMA Awards Press Conference in Nashville. Of DLQ’s performance, which garnered three standing ovations from a sold-out crowd in Nashville, Havighurst wrote: “There was no question who was going to close the show. Doyle Lawson is one of music’s lions at this point, and when he came out in perhaps the most beautiful western jacket I’ve ever seen… he was a holy vision. … When DLQ, in quartet mode, nailed the final chorus of the a cappella gospel song “He Made It All Right,” I swear we were mainlining the holy spirit. You know how the word awesome gets overused and misused? Here’s where it applies.” (

A native Tennessean, Lawson was honored in February 2012 by Governor Bill Haslam and the State of Tennessee for his contributions to the state and America through his music (Senate Joint Resolution 467). Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (DLQ) were very visible in 2011 through multiple national television appearances and a European tour, while their album “Drive Time” spent several weeks atop the new Alternate Roots Top 66 International Bluegrass Chart at #1, reflecting radio airplay nationwide and across the globe. “Drive Time” was also heralded as an Essential Album of 2011 by “Acoustic Guitar” magazine (Feb 2012 issue).

Snyder Family Band

The Snyder Family Band features the talents of siblings Zeb and Samantha Snyder from Lexington, NC.  Backed by their dad, Bud, on upright bass, this band has delighted and surprised audiences at venues including Merlefest (Wilkesboro, NC), Music City Roots (Nashville, TN), Bristol Rhythm & Roots (Bristol, VA/TN), the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree (Nashville, TN), the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Festival (Columbus, OH), and the Red White and Bluegrass Festival (Morganton, NC). They have also appeared on the “WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour” (Lexington, KY) and twice on the PBS TV program “Song of the Mountains” (Marion, VA). Mom, Laine, occasionally joins in with harmony vocals, and six-year-old Owen also makes special appearances singing or playing guitar.

Samantha, now thirteen, began playing classical violin at age three.  In 2007 she won first place at the Jimmy Edmonds Homecoming Competition in Galax, VA. In 2008 at age nine she became the youngest ever to win the prestigious Fiddler of the Festival award at Fiddler’s Grove, NC.  She also won the 2011 Adult Bluegrass Fiddle competition at the Old Fiddler’s Convention held in Galax, VA. In addition to playing fiddle, Samantha sings both lead and harmony vocals.

Zeb, now sixteen, began classical guitar lessons at age seven.  In 2007, he won the top prize, a Wayne Henderson guitar, at the Jimmy Edmonds Homecoming Competition in Galax, VA. In 2011 he became the South Carolina Guitar Champion at RenoFest in Hartsville, SC.  He also placed first in the adult guitar competition at the 2011 Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, VA.  In addition to guitar and mandolin, Zeb also plays banjo, bass, and dobro and sings lead and harmony vocals.

The Snyder Family’s latest CD, titled “Stages,” was released in October 2011 on the Mountain Roads Recordings record label. Samantha wrote the title track as well as two other songs and Zeb wrote two instrumentals on this project.  There is even a bonus track featuring Owen, the youngest member of the family.

Amantha Mill

Amantha Mill is a community oriented folk/bluegrass act that is based out of Boone, North Carolina. They derived their name from the small mill community of Amantha, NC. The original mill that they are named after washed away many years ago in a flood, but if you’re driving through Cove Creek you can still see part of its footing.

As a songwriter, Becca Eggers-Gryder draws from a deep well, incorporating her strongly crafted lyrics into sounds that skirt country, bluegrass and blues, while maintaining the essence of down-home living in her songs. Becca’s unique voice transforms her original tunes into gritty story songs about the human experience. Billy Helms joins on the banjo, Randy Pasley on dobro, and John Cockman on the fiddle.

 Blue Horizon

From the hills of Johnson City, TN comes a sound just as unique as its members.  Hailing from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and everywhere in between, these folks got their start as part of ETSU’s world renowned Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music program.  Coming together as freshman at the beginning of fall 2011, Blue Horizon has found its momentum.  The band delivers a high-energy bluegrass sound, blending each person’s own musical roots with what they’ve learned while in East Tennessee  Playing songs from the Bill Monroe to Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks to Nickel Creek, Blue Horizon’s signature harmonies and musical arrangements delight audiences and take them on a journey through bluegrass and beyond.


Carolina Crossing

Carolina Crossing is a bluegrass band from the mountains of North Carolina, which was formed in early 2010.  Carolina Crossing is committed to keeping bluegrass music alive with a good selection of standards and original material.  The band enjoys performing hard-driving arrangements to soft ballads.  Venues such as festivals, churches, local events, and private parties are the mainstays of the band’s bookings.

Gary Trivette is the band’s upright bass player and sings lead and tenor.  He was born and raised in Watauga County, North Carolina. Curtis Main plays the banjo and compliments the group with his lead and harmony vocals.  He is from Watauga County, North Carolina. Corey Pittman plays lead guitar and fiddle and contributes vocally also.  He makes his home in Avery County, North Carolina. Blake Vance is the band’s mandolin player and also makes his home in Avery County, North Carolina. Tyler Thompson plays lead and rhythm guitar and also contributes vocally.  He was born in Watauga County, North Carolina and now makes his home in Mountain City, Tennessee.

Upright N’ Breathin’

It all started at a secret downtown Boone location, the legendary jam room in Ben Smith’s basement. Ben knew a mandolin player named Jeff Moretz, and they invited John Sheffield over to play some fiddle tunes. John invited Brian Kreher, and from the first night they all played together, they knew something special was happening. It was on. They booked a weekly gig and people started paying attention to their unique mountain sound. They started earning their fans, one show, and one music-lover at a time.

Since those early days of basement jams and back porches, Upright n’ Breathin’ continues to develop and evolve. Today, Jeff Moretz, Brian Kreher, Kim France, Chris Capozzoli and the band’s newest addition from Ashe County, bass player Ryan McClure,  form the core of Upright & Breathin’.


Mountain Laurels

The Mountain Laurels is a band of women from Boone, NC who perform a blend of Celtic, Folk, and Americana music. If you’re hungry for some fresh entertainment this lively group will get your feet tappin’ and your heart pumpin’ with brisk jigs, and reels, then sway you in to a sentimental, bittersweet state with an enchanting waltz.

The Mountain Laurels musical style is a distinctive blend of each of the members’ musical influences. Dr. Suzi Mills plays bass, accordion and provide soulful vocals. She has been performing and writing music since the 80′s in blue grass, folk and pop rock bands when she is not busy being a Fulbright Scholar, singing in the ASU gospel choir and serving as full time faculty member at Hayes School of Music.

Elaine Gray, played guitar in pop-rock bands since the 80s and has returned to her own Irish and NC roots with Celtic music. Elaine, was the guitarist in The Mix with Dr. Mills in the 1980s. She currently manages the Mountain Laurels and, of course gets them the best gigs and record deals. Rhonda Lorence is a classical violist who found fiddlin’ more fun. She performed with symphonies and quartets through out her college years and toured with orchestras to Japan and Korea, before settling down in the Boone area where she now teaches Suzuki violin at the Hayes Community School of Music and Harper Performing Arts School in Lenoir.  Rhonda released two CDs of her own neo-classical compositions on the Adventure Girl label in 2004 and 2009. The multi-talented Lauren Hayworth sings, plays banjo, guitar, whistle, drum and is an impressively trained music performance major with one of the most lovely voices you will ever hear.  Lauren has released two CD of her own original indy/folk songs. Connie Woolard plays the hammered dulcimer. Connie is always in high demand as she brings the complex, emotional, sounds of the dulcimer with a fluid and beautiful resonance. She also gets most of the wedding gigs for some reason.

From the delicate to the danceable this well season and rare ensemble serves up a gourmet performance Their CD entitled Highland Bloom (2012), available on, showcases their repertoire of traditional Celtic tunes and original songs.

 The Major Sevens

“Known for their fusion of musical styles, The Major Sevens’  gorgeous old-school vibe draws from the roots of bluegrass and folk music while adding heavy elements of rock-n-roll, blues and jazz. Hailing from Chapel Hill, their enigmatic sound – brimming with graceful harmonies and thought-provoking lyrics – is based in the acoustic past while surging forward into an electrified future.”

-Paul Kerr | Jambase

The New River Boys


From their humble beginnings in 2009, The New River Boys, created and established in Boone NC, developed a reputation for their engaging performances and ever-increasing, energetic fan base. With their well-blended harmonies and their infectious personalities, The New River Boys are a fantastic force to be reckoned with! Together, Andrew Jacobs (guitar/vocals), Aaron Simpson (mandolin/vocals), and Everett Hardin (cello/vocals) work to develop and refine the group’s unique sound.


Made of Suede

Made of Suede features an all-star lineup of musicians from some of the top bands in the High Country. Members of The Native Sway, BPL, and The Major Sevens came together for the first time at a house party, armed only with acoustic instruments and grandma-grown corn liquor. That first rendezvous was filled with boot-stompin’ fiddle tunes, rowdy traditional numbers, and notably cohesive improvisation. They’ve been building upon these elements since then, and have fabricated a sound that’s rooted in tradition, ingrained with progression and relentless as a freight train. Their steam-powered live show is full of punch and vigor, and aims at keeping the audience dancing, as well as listening. Be sure to catch their first appearance at the MusicFest n’ Sugar Grove!


The Blue Ribbon Boys

Blue ribbon boys One part facial hair, another part twang, and a heaping helping

of 1st place effort gives you the conundrum that is the Blue Ribbon Boys.

Watauga County native Blake Bullard with the help of his New Yorker sidekick, handsome Mike,

bring you the sounds and stories of the best in country music.



He Said…She Said… he said she said

Appalachian Folk originals with a bluegrass flavor. Kim and Pete’s songs come from life’s experiences, and tell stories of love, loss, and inspiration. Their music has been featured on WNCW’s “Local Color” and “This Ole Porch”, and at Music Fest N Sugar Grovel, where for the past four years Kim and Pete have been guest artists for the Songwriter Showcase.

Kim McWhirter : As a dedicated and professional dancer , Kim McWhirter has honed her rhythm skills that come through in her guitar style. She began playing guitar professionally in 2004 when she joined husband Pete for their first gig. Previous to that, she had been writing songs and working on her vocal style. Kim has been featured at many songwriter workshops and brings an honest voice and heartfelt joy to her songs. She still does a mean buck dance too.

Pete McWhirter : A professional musician since 1984 Pete cut his teeth playing the Asheville North Carolina bars . Mainly progressive rock styles that led him to participate in some Dramatic dance theater with the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theater in the mid 80′s. Ad-lib creative approaches led the way toward his vision of music. In the mid 90′s Pete began to get together with long time friend Kenny Jobe, and pickin’ around the dining room table.

Pete and Kim are also potters in Yancey County, continuing the McWhirter family business that has thrived since 1963, and are currently making small pottery jugs for the Grammy Award-winning traditional group The Carolina Chocolate Drops. They have just released their first album, He Said, She Said’s “The Dream” which is available at their live performances as well as all the on-line stores, Amazon, I-Tunes, and

Jim Avett

JimAvett110Hailing from Concord, North Carolina, is the son of a Methodist minister and a classical pianist who grew up in a home full of love and music, a home where he learned the importance of hard work and honest living. He and his wife instilled these same values in their children, tempered with a lot of fun, and of course, music.

As much as he enjoyed writing and performing music, Jim put his family first and spent 35 years running his welding company, building bridges along much of the east coast in order to provide for them. After retiring from welding, he returned to music and recorded Jim Avett and Family, a collection of gospel music, with his children, Bonnie, Scott and Seth in 2008. Soon after, in 2010, he released Tribes, a collection of original tunes ranging from soulful love ballads like the title track to the more lighthearted, “Fight with a Bottle of Booze”. In Second Chance, Jim’s latest offering, the influences of classic country and early rock and roll are apparent. Once again, he draws on life experiences to write songs about love (“Pictures in the Attic”), boyhood memories, (“Willard”), and loss (“Holy Ground”).

Sons of Bluegrass

sons of bluegrassHeralded as one of the best upcoming Bluegrass bands in the country, the award winning Sons of Bluegrass are setting the standard for a new generation of Bluegrass professionals. Comprised entirely of high caliber Bluegrass Majors from the one of a kind four year B.A. in Bluegrass Music Program at East Tennessee State University, The Sons of Bluegrass provide high quality, high energy entertainment to festivals and venues throughout United States. As Audio-Technica endorsed artists The Sons are working with award winning guitarist and songwriter Tim Stafford as their personal mentor, and are honing their craft to mastery Having been featured in Bluegrass Today several times, having been awarded the 2012 “Arts Build Communities” Grant from The Tennessee Arts Commission, and having been recognized as The 2012 Championship Bluegrass band by the State of North Carolina, the Sons are garnering recognition on a regional and national level at unprecedented speed. Working, performing and recording with some of the biggest names in Bluegrass music The Sons are on the rise.

Spirit Fiddle

SpiritFiddlePromo5bw10Composed of Champion Fiddler Robin Warren and Guitarist Brian Clancey, Spirit Fiddle, performs a wide variety of energetic music. Their repertoire ranges from bouncy Southern and Texas swing tunes to sweet waltzes, old popular songs, bluegrass numbers, French Canadian and Celtic jigs and reels, and Parisian musette.

From The Boston Museum of Fine Arts to the renowned Fiddler’s Grove Festival in Union Grove, North Carolina, from the syrup festival in Henderson, Texas, to the oldest bluegrass festival in Canada, from sidewalk cafes to coffee houses and formal concerts, audiences delight in the eclectic mix of music Spirit Fiddle performs, and in their natural sense of humor on stage. Since its first appearance over 12 years ago, Spirit Fiddle has given 100s of performances and recorded 6 full-length albums.

After studying classical violin as a child, and giving solo violin recitals in Boston’s Brown Hall and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Master Fiddler Robin Warren took first place prizes in numerous fiddle contests in North Carolina and New England. She was the first fiddler ever to win the coveted Fiddler of the Festival title during 3 different years at Fiddler’s Grove in North Carolina. For this, she was granted the title of Master Fiddler. She is also one of several fiddlers featured in the 1994 PBS Special entitled Fiddler’s Grove, a Celebration of Old-Time Music. She has appeared on over 2 dozen albums and collections.

Brian Clancey brings a lifetime of experience (from Renaissance lute to bluegrass) to his sensitive guitar arrangements of Spirit Fiddle tunes. Drawing on musical experience that crosses boundaries of time and style, he is able to create an authentic setting for each Spirit Fiddle tune. Brian is known throughout the Boston area as an outstanding rhythm player, and he is a popular backup guitar player at contests and festivals throughout New England.

Sweetbriar Jam

sweetbriar jam


Sweetbriar Jam is a bluegrass/gospel band from Lenoir, NC who has been playing together since March of 2007. The band performs at many diffrent locations around NC, though sometimes they travel a little further. They are Sawyer Whitman, 18 ( Banjo & Vocals) Kaitlyn Caldwell, 17 ( Bass & Vocals) Dalton Caldwell, 17 ( Mandolin & Vocals) Nick Seymour, 16 (Guitar & Vocals) Sarah Seymour, 13 (Fiddle & Vocals)


Dusty Road Rangers

dusty road rangersThe Dusty Road Rangers is a string band that plays a mix of Americana, bluegrass, old time, folk and Celtic music. The band and its members have won numerous awards at the 2012 and 2013 Florida Old Time Music Championships (FOTMC).

Joe Fariello – guitar, harmonica, ukulele, vocals.
Michael Duff – mandolin, guitar, vocals.
John Seykora – washtub bass.
Ellen Eckblad – fiddle
Fran Prager- Bodhran.



Vudu Sister

vudu sister

 Vudu Sister is a weird band. Keith McCurdy is a Romanichal singer/songwriter. Songs of death, the dying, the dead, murder, sadness and insanity. Vudu Sister’s debut album Bastard Children was recorded in the summer of 2011 at Treading Thomas Records. In addition to McCurdy’s vocals and guitar, the album includes the sounds of banjo, dobro, mandolin, bouzouki, violin, electric guitar, bass, drums and backing vocals by some of Rhode Island’s most talented young musicians.


ETSU Country Pride Band

ETSU country prideComprised of six talented young musicians from ETSU’s world renowned Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music program, these folks deliver a truly timeless country sound. Covering classic country artists from Patsy Cline to Johnny Cash, a little dash of Elvis, and a few of modern gems, ETSU Country Pride stays true to the roots of country music.

Whitetop Mountain Band

whitetop mtnbandThe Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop, Virginia is an area rich in the old time music tradition; this band has deep roots in mountain music. The members have done much to preserve the Whitetop region’s style of old time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style.

At the same time, Whitetop Mountain Band shows are very versatile and entertaining containing everything from fiddle/banjo instrumentals to powerful solos and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honky tonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old timey ballads, originals, and four part mountain gospel songs. Shows also include flat foot dancing. The band is well known for their high energy and charisma on stage.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a great following at square dances all over Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky at venues like the Carter Family Fold. The band has also performed at all sorts of venues throughout the United States from festivals to concerts, competitions, and colleges. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Folklife Festival, World Music Institute in NYC, Carter Family Festival, Dock Boggs Festival, World Fair, Virginia Arts Festival, Floydfest, Ola Belle Reed Festival and Merlefest are a few of the many festivals the band has performed at. They were featured on the NCTA Crooked Road Music tour of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho in October 2007 and the East Coast tour of MD, VA, PA, NJ, WV and D.C. in 2010. The band members have toured overseas in the UK, Ireland, and Australia. WTMB has also taught and been master musicians/dancers for workshops and classes in fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals, and dance all over the US. Some of these include Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC, Cowan Creek Music School in KY, Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap, and Mt. Rogers Combined School.

The band currently has recordings on the Arhoolie Record Label and Virginia Foundation of the Humanities. The band members have also been recorded by JuneAppal, Heritage and been on fiddle compilations for Rounder Records.

The Whitetop Mountain Band has been featured in many books, magazines, and TV/radio shows about Appalachian music such as The Guide to the Crooked Road, A Hotbed of Musicians, Strings of Life, In Good Keeping, Country Music Television, Travel Channel, PBS, Old Time Herald, and many TV news and radio programs.

Brian Swanson

brian swans

A recent graduate from nearby Appalachian State University, Brian Swanson has been playing venues, small festivals, and fundraisers in the area for several years. His music was first influenced by experiences of worship, later by the music of Radiohead, Tool, Jeff Buckley, and of course the Beatles. Time in the mountains here has brought a folksy and perhaps gypsy tone to his sound. Brian’s music and lyrical work is integrated with his academic work in cosmology and medical modalities.



Slice of Bluegrass


The quartet known as Slice of Bluegrass came together in the summer of 2010 to play for their now State representative, Scotty Campbell’s fund raiser. Their appearances include WCYB’s showcase at Noon, Tim White’s radio show and several appearances at The Picken’ Porch. Our proudest accomplishment yet was appearing on the Song of the Mountain featuring Jimmy Fortune, formally of the Staler Brothers and opening for Aaron Tippin at the Heritage Hall. Their first album “Slowly But Surely” was just released.

Ashley Heath & Kevin Reese

AshleyandKevinOut of the Woodwork of Marshall, NC, Ashley Heath and Kevin Reese have been collaborating for nine years rocking faces and tuning it up for the world. Heavily inspired by Patsy Cline, Eva Cassidy, Doc, and more, be prepared to hear some heart and soul spilled on their stage.






Folk & Dagger

Folk and Dagger are a folk rock group from Boone, NC, whose original trio formed in 2007. The band includes singer-songwriter Doris Bazzini Crothers on rhythm guitar and vocals, Colin Crothers on lead guitar, and Colleen Tarantino Utter on vocals. Originally singing as a church choir group, the band was joined by Charlie Ochoa and then Jimmy Puchalski on percussion. More recently, the foursome includes Boone native, John Fulkerson on djembe, shaker, and tambourine. The band’s soulful harmonies and Crothers’ acoustic lead guitar style have been likened to “Indigo Girls meet the Beatles.” Bazzini Crothers’ songs focus on love and life’s dramas including annoying co-workers, juggling marriage and children, and the occasional need to carry whiskey in one’s purse. The band has released two CDs–Half Full in 2009 and Got Wine? in 2011.


Dashboard Hula Boys hulaboys_2 

A Boone, North Carolina based acoustic trio, are Ed Midgett (guitar), Bob White (bass), and Tom Whyte (harmonica, uke, tenor banjo). They play favorites from old-time blues to classic rock along with a few originals. To describe them as eclectic or eccentric would be limiting. They perform fully clothed at venues such as festivals, clubs, wrestling matches, celebrations, and secret society initiations, to name a few. Contact us for more information and bookings. Here are a few songs from our CD, Honolulu Moon. We are presently in the studio and hope to have a new CD out by end of summer.

Laurel Creek Trail

laurel creek trail

Laurel Creek Trail is an acoustic band. The band performs Old Time, traditional music as well as Bluegrass and Classic Country songs. The band officially formed in 2010 as a three piece band and expanded to a four piece band in January, 2012.

Band members include Mike Taylor, Buddy Morefield, Dan Isaacs, and Chris McElraft.

Guitarist and singer Mike Taylor from Mountain City, Tennessee takes turns singing lead on upbeat tunes such as “Rabbit in a Log” and the Tom T. Hall classic “I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew”.

Hailing from Butler, Tennessee, Buddy Morefield shares vocals with Mike and plays mandolin on spirited instrumentals like “Tombstone Junction”. Buddy has also written a few original songs that are upbeat as well as heartfelt.

In January of 2012, Laurel Creek Trail enlisted a man of many talents from the mountains of North Carolina. Dan Isaacs plays banjo, fiddle, and if you stick around long enough he will probably pull out his harmonica.

Chris McElraft provides the bottom end of Laurel Creek Trail on the upright bass. Originally from Marion, Virginia and now Abingdon, Chris thumps the bass to round out their musical sound with a “not so traditional” style of playing.

This band of school teachers (Dan’s retired) perform a broad range of upbeat instrumentals, solid bluegrass songs, classic country tunes, and sentimental ballads that are sure to get your feet tapping.


many more to come….