Kilby Spencer & the Crooked Road Ramblers ramble into The Fold
Saturday, March 31st, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special concert by Kilby Spencer & the Crooked Road Ramblers – an old time band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.
The Crooked Road Ramblers are an old-time band from southwest Virginia, steeped in the traditional mountain music of the Blue Ridge. You’ll find them providing a mixture of instrumental dance music, old ballads and traditional country and bluegrass at notable venues across the region like the Carter Family Fold, Houstonfest, the Albert Hash Memorial Festival, and the Wayne Henderson Festival. They have won first place in the old-time band category at the Ashe County, Alleghany County, Laurel Bloomery, Fries, and Union Grove Fiddlers conventions – in addition to being named the old-time instrumental group of the year at the 2014 Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising.
The band was started by fiddler Kilby Spencer. Having grown up in Whitetop, Virginia, Kilby has been playing old-time music most of his life – learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily, who were and have been in the Whitetop Mountain Band for over 40 years. He also counts Johnny Miller and Dean Sturgill among his influences, in addition to the recordings of Albert Hash, Otis Burris, and G. B. Grayson. Kilby has collected and digitalized rare local recordings for many years and serves on the board of the Field Recorder’s Collective whose mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. He started his band in order to carry on the driving southwest Virginia “big” band sound that makes people want to dance.
Kelley Breiding of Crumpler, North Carolina, propels the band forward with both her clawhammer banjo playing and her high-powered vocals. Kelley has won many blue ribbons for her banjo playing, and she also leads her own traditional country music group Kelley and the Cowboys.
John Perry plays guitar and sings. A retired welder from Independence, Virginia, he grew up playing with his brothers Buck (banjo) and Arnold (guitar) in a band called the New River Ramblers. The group featured fiddlers such as Jerry Moretz, Thornton Spencer, and James Burris). Frequent prize winners and favorites of dancers throughout the region for most of the 1970s, the New River Ramblers disbanded in the late 1980s. John’s individualistic guitar style gives the band much of its’ unique driving sound. John is also a wonderful singer who has that “high, lonesome” sound. His father played the clawhammer banjo and also sang.
Donald Hill is one of the foremost rhythm guitar players in the Blue Ridge in addition to being a tremendous vocalist. Donald lives in Fries, Viginia, and comes from a musical family. His father was Leon Hill, a well-known guitar player who played with the Whitetop Mounjtain Band, Fred Cockerham, Glen Smith, and many others. Donald took up playing at an early age and has passed his talent on to his sons, Eric and Patrick. Donald’s rhythm is like a wall of sound, and he makes it easy to play for any musician he backs up.
Karen Carr of Galax, Virginia, plays bass and also sings for the band. She has won the Barbara Poole Memorial Bass award for best old-time bass player at Galax twice now and has rock-solid rhythm in addition to outstanding bass runs. She also comes from a musical family, being a descendant of two old-time fiddlers – Fred Cockerham and Wilson Ramey – both legends from the Low Gap, North Carolina, area. Karen is always in high demand to play bass with both old-time and bluegrass musicians. She makes any group sound better when she steps in with her strong rhythm.
Wayne Dye of Cleveland, Virginia, plays mandolin and also sings for the band. A retired coal miner from the coal fields of Russell County, he can play anything with strings on it and sing many vocal parts. Wayne comes from a musical family. His dad, Scott Dye, was a well-known banjo player who could play both the clawhammer and the bluegrass style banjo. Wayne and his father, along with fiddler Trigg Fields, were part of the Russell County Boys, a very popular band at dances and fiddlers conventions.
Don’t miss Kilby Spencer and the Crooked Road Ramblers at the Carter Family Fold. It will be an evening of down-home entertainment. Bring along your friends and your dancing shoes! Kilby literally grew up playing on the stage of the Carter Fold, and he knows exactly what Fold audiences expect. He delivers just that in the style his family always has. The Spencers are one of the few bands remaining today that have performed at the Fold continually over the past 43 years. In fact, Kilby’s planning on bringing along some special guests for this performance. For more information on the Crooked Road Ramblers, go to https://crookedroadramblers.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.