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Browse History >


Playing Since: 1972
Experience Level: Expert/Professional

[Teaching] [Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: musician

Gender: Female
Age: 73

My Instruments:
Washtub bass (Gutbucket)

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
Roan Mountain Hilltoppers of course and every able musician out there that is really giving it a go.

Classified Rating: (0)
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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 5/11/2011
Last Visit 5/11/2011

The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers are one of America's most authentic Old-Time String Bands, whose roots run deep in the rich music traditions of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Headed by Bill and Janice Birchfieid, they live in the high reaches of Roan Mountain, Tenn., where the band started more than 30 years ago. Today, they continue to keep alive their musical heritage with tunes that date back to the early settlers of upper East Tennessee and western North Carolina. Initially, the members of the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers were Bill's father, Joe, an old-time fiddler and Uncle Creede Birchfieid, who played the old-time banjo, with a two-finger, up-style lick. Bill's mother, Ethel, played the wash board, sang ballads and told stories. At that time, Bill played the guitar in his unique upside down and backward left-handed style, and his wife, Janice, on the homemade washtub bass completed the group. After the death of Joe Birchfieid in 2002, Bill assumed the role of the fiddler as well as playing the banjo and autoharp. Joining them is Matt Kinman "lil Hobo" on guitar and Joshua Hayes on banjo. Strongly committed to the preservation and teaching of traditional Appalachian music, the Birchfields have taken their lively mountain sound to such prestigious events as the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Port Townsend, Wash.; the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tenn.; Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, D.C.; the 1982 World's Fair, Knoxville, Tenn.; Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco, Calif.; MerleFest, Wilkesboro, N.C.; the Brandywine Arts Festival, Wilmington, Del.; and the National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap in Vienna, Va. Additionally, the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers were part of the documentary Chase the Devil -Religious Music of the Southern Appalachians, by British filmmaker Jeremy Marre and Talking Feet, produced by the late Mike Seeger and Ruth Pershing, about Appalachian dancers. In 2009, they were presented with the Uncle Dave Macon Days Heritage Award for their lifetime commitment to preserving old-time music. They have been in Rolling Stone magazine and are part of the recently released book and CD, Hands in Harmony: Traditional Crafts and Music in Appalachia by photographer, Tim Barnwell. Their work can be found in The Library of Congress, East Tennessee State University's Center for Appalachian Studies -- Archives of Appalachia and the Tennessee State Library and Archives. While they have a long collection of honors, the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers perhaps are best known and loved for the open jams they have held at fiddlers' conventions - traditional music and dance contests scattered across the Southeast. For decades, the Birchfield's welcoming attitude toward all musicians has taught and influenced countless young performers resulting in a living legacy of talent that knows how to play music ragged... but right. For more information contact Janice Birchfieid at (423) 725 3065 or roanmountainhilltoppers@gmail.com. You can view their Facebook by searching for roanmountainhilltoppers or roanmountainhilltoppers@facebook.com.

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