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Highwoods String Band

Any time the term “revival” arises regarding the a given design of music, it often appears to be the situation that a particular tension develops between those that take an educational, preservationist strategy, with recital-style performances, and the ones who seek to capture the original soul from the music as a thing that was completed for the sheer pleasure of it. Regarding the resurgence appealing within the old-time string music group music from the Appalachians that occurred within the ’70s, it might be unfair to state that even probably the most critical and academic from the folklorists and enthusiasts weren’t also having a great time playing the music, however when it found making sure individuals were having a great time, there was nothing at all quite like viewing the Highwoods String Music group. As banjo participant Mac Benford enjoyed to say, it had been, “about fun — fun for all of us and fun for our viewers.” Any debate of the music picture in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA during the past due ’60s certainly brings to brain images from the Pleased Dead, Jefferson Aircraft, Santana, and many more, but a captivating mixture of many types of road music was also a fundamental element of that period within the Bay Region. One of the rings that eked out a full time income busking over the roads had been All-Skate, a music group that performed on stilts which included fiddler Bob Potts; Dr. Humbead’s New Tranquility String Music group, whose banjo participant was NJ native Benford; as well as the Busted Bottom Mudthumpers, offering fiddle and banjo ace Walt Koken, a fresh York indigenous. When their particular rings dissolved at a comparable period, the three of these came jointly as Fat Town, specializing in generating fiddle-and-banjo tunes in the repertoires of such early nation recording artists because the Skillet Lickers as well as the Georgia Yellowish Hammers. Having two fiddles within the music group was unusual more than enough, but the capability of Potts and Koken to try out differing however complementary styles produced Fat City one of the most distinctive outfits within the Bay Region, and everything three of these acquired wry, wisecracking stage personas that added very much towards the entertainment quotient. Their account outside California begun to grow if they appeared on the Smithsonian Folk Lifestyle Celebration in Washington, D.C., in 1971. When Koken came back to his Ithaca, NY, stomping grounds in 1972, Potts and Benford implemented a short while afterwards. The metamorphosis from Unwanted fat Town to Highwoods String Music group took place if they added a generating tempo section towards the music group within the people of guitarist Doug Dorschug and bassist Jenny Cleland. Your guitar as tempo backup have been an integral part of old-time music for many years, but as John Cohen of the brand new Lost Town Ramblers would afterwards be aware, Dorschug’s playing frequently contained some ragtime that lent a lot more character for an currently powerful musical sound. Cleland’s pulsing bass, alternatively, was an nearly radical departure from custom in the end. Bass fiddles weren’t specifically something every Appalachian family members seen as a required section of their home décor. Everything added up to mixture of attitude, showmanship, musicianship, and entertainment bang-for-the-buck that appealed highly towards the remnants from the ’60s counterculture who acquired become jaded with rock and roll and rock. As festivals just like the Brandywine Hill Music Convention begun to sprout around the united states, the Highwoods String Music group became the marquee action for these occasions (or, they might have already been if these occasions had been the sort that got marquees) for some from the ’70s until street weariness and family members responsibilities caused these to disband by the end of that 10 years. Benford shaped the Backwoods Music group and lower an recording for Rounder Information before that music group split up in 1981. After going up Mac pc Benford’s Old Period Band for a couple years, he shaped the Woodshed All-Stars in 1990 and toured together for most from the ’90s. Walt Koken released several single banjo albums on Rounder in the first ’90s before developing Mudthumper Music with Benford and liberating another solo recording, Finger Lakes Ramble, in 1998. By 1999, all five people from the Highwoods had been still surviving in the Ithaca area but still playing collectively occasionally on a casual basis. Their legacy is the fact that, more than some other music group of their own time, they were in charge of sketching a legion of fresh, young enthusiasts into old-time music from the force of the musicianship and the actual fact that these were having this type of damn good period at it. Searching back again at their ’70s heyday, Walt Koken summed it up by stating, “Ironically, the greater well-known we became, the much less required we had been to the developing old-time music picture, since among the messages would be to do-it-yourself — unplug it, and consider it house!”

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