Category Archives: Old Time Music

Manco Sneed

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Dakota Brewer, the daughter of Manco, for the occasion of the John H. and Sarah Lovin descendants’ reunion on February 17, 2007 at Tsali Manor, Cherokee, NC.

Manco Sneed was born in Graham County Feb.18-1885, the son of John Harrison and Sarah Lovin Sneed, but later moved to Cherokee and lived in the “Sneed Gap” section all of his life where he and my mother Rosebud Beck Sneed raised their family of seven children. He died at age 89. Continue reading

Manco Sneed and the Indians

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Blanton Owen

This paper, slightly revised, was originally presented as part of a panel at the American Folklore Society meeting in Los Angeles on 26 October 1979.

It is tempting to take the easy route when studying a region’s folk life by dealing with “items” as if they exist and have existed without much tampering with by human beings. It is easy simply Continue reading

Corbett Stamper

Interviewed 29th September 1982 by Frank Weston

FRC306

I was born James Corbett Stamper in Grayson County, Virginia, in the 9th district 13th December in 1910. My father was Matt Stamper, he played fiddle and picked banjo just about all his life. And my uncle, his eldest brother played fiddle. My father’s father also named Matt he’s buried down here in this cemetery was a fife player in the civil war and he also played organ and piano. Continue reading

Dock Boggs

Dock Boggs FRC305 and FRC312

by Reed Martin

My sister lived in Whitesburg, Kentucky, during the mid 1960s and thereafter. In 1967 I went to live with her for the summer. I had been living in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. I was used to playing at noisy dances and had taken to the habit of winding all four strings in the peg head – the same direction. If I was part of a band and the noise was great, if my third string was Continue reading

Kilby Snow and His Influential Music Style

Kilby Snow (FRC205)

by Joe Riggs

Much has been written about the life and music of Kilby Snow, an autoharp player of the old tradition of playing below the chord bars. Most folks who know his music and style think first of his famous “drag notes,” a technique he developed to simulate a guitar slide or run on the autoharp, caused when he drags the pick upward from lower strings to higher strings. The first Continue reading

The Kimble & Wagoner Families

The Kimble and Wagoner Families (FRC106)

by Ray Alden

Many years ago, while at a conference on Old Time Music at Brown University, I heard Alan Jabbour describe the music deriving not from a single pure source but behaving more like river in which many currents mingle and churn together to produce a song or a tune. So too, when I look at the Kimble family tree, I see a meandering stream of personalities and musical abilities flowing into the blood of Taylor Kimble and his children. Continue reading

Ashby Family History

John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Ms. Nancy M. Sessions

Here is my personal Family History, and memories that have been told to me, by my Mother, Mrs. Agnes Adelia Ashby Sessions, as well as her Sister, my Aunt, Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Scott Ashby Small, as well! I have a good, and a long memory! I am only very happy that it serves a wonderful purpose; to give out history about my Dear Uncle John C. Ashby! Continue reading

The Ashby Family and Friends of Fauquier County Virginia

John Ashby John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Sandy Hofferth (original article appeared in the Old Time Herald)

Skip Ashby, a winner at the 2005 Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Clifftop, WV, is the latest in a long line of fiddlers going back several generations and a link in a chain of musicians in the Warrenton area of Fauquier County, VA, that goes back a century and a half. The Free State Ramblers, one of the longest running bands ever, started in the 1930s and are still active Continue reading

Esker Hutchins plays Cumberland Gap (Listed as “Unknown Tune #2”)

Esker Hutchins (FRC107)

by Jody Stecher (Fiddler Magazine)

Esker Hutchins.  What a great name; sounds like someone taking a bite out of a fiddle.  His music did have a lot of bite and crunch actually, and when he had a good band behind him,  Esker Hutchins of Surry County, North Carolina played some of the most exciting music I’ve ever heard.  Playing solo he was more relaxed but still he had that powerful and incisive bowing arm. Continue reading

Rambling Reminisces of How I Came to Play Old-Time Music

Chirps Smith (FRC608)

By Lynn “Chirps” Smith – November 15, 1995

I was born October 11, 1952 in Pekin, IL. I am the fifth generation of my family in Illinois. My great-great grandfather Mervill A. Smith moved to southern Illinois, from New York state, in the late 1830’s and settled around Mt. Vernon in Jefferson County. When I was very young our family moved to Granite City, near St. Louis, MO. I lived there until 1963 when we moved to Continue reading

The Complete History of the Plank Road String Band and the Lexington, VA Music Scene

Plank Road (FRC606)

By Brad Leftwich, Al Tharp and Odell McGuire

Brad Leftwich’s Memories

In the early 1970s it seemed like communities of people who loved and lived old-time music and dancing were popping up like mushrooms all over the country. One of the most vibrant was in Lexington, Virginia. I ran across a bunch of musicians from Lexington at the 1972 fiddlers convention in Independence, Va. (Wade Ward’s stomping grounds) and had such a great time Continue reading

The Hurricane Ridgerunners

The Hurricane Ridgerunners (FRC604)

Mark Graham

Mark Graham has been playing old-time music on the Marine Band harmonica for over 30 years. In that time he has played hundreds of concerts and dances and performed with many of the luminaries of Southern old-time and bluegrass music including Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, Dirk Powell, The Horseflies, The Chicken Chokers, Tom Sauber, Pete Sutherland, Bad Livers and Continue reading

The Chicken Chokers

The Chicken Chokers (FRC603)

The Chicken Chokers were an old-timey string band from the Boston area who intersected their roots influences with reggae, punk, and rap. Fiddler Chad Crumm and multi-instrumentalists Paul Strother, Taylor Smith, and Jim Reidy released two albums on Rounder, 1987’s Shoot Your Radio and Old Time Music in 1990. But when Crumm departed for New York City, the group Continue reading

Richie Stearns’ Autobiography

See The Horse Flies (FRC602) and The Renegades (FRC605)

Banjo Player with “the Horse Flies” and “the Renegades”

I got into playing music at 14 in junior high, with a pack of like-minded hippie kids. (A typical beginning, eh?) Except the kind of music we were exposed to was string band and jug band music. Locally there were some very active bands in these genres, while on our record players we had Lou Reed, Bob Marley, the Beatles, the Stones, Doc Watson, Jimmy Rogers, Hank Continue reading

The Horse Flies

The Horse Flies (FRC602)

By Judy Hyman

The Horse Flies came together in 1979 in Ithaca, NY. The initial lineup (Judy Hyman and Mike Scott fiddles; Jeff Claus, guitar; John Hoffmann, banjo; and Molly Stouten, bass), played fiddle tunes and old songs at regional festivals and square dances. By the early 980s they settled into a 4-piece quasi-traditional old-time string band with Judy Hyman on fiddle, Richie Stearns on banjo, Jeff Claus on guitar and banjo uke, and John Hayward on upright bass. Continue reading

The Nee Ningy Band

FRC610

By Bob Hudson

If a band is defined more by its sound than by its songs, then the Nee Ningy Band was in a class by itself. Most old-time or blues bands, while unique in their own way, sound at least a little like every other old-time or blues band. While the musical influences on the Nee Ningy Band are easy to distinguish—blues, Cajun, Celtic, and so on—they just didn’t sound like anyone else. Not then, not since. Continue reading