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South Mountain String Band

Getting stir-crazy with cabin fever? The Hampshire County Arts Council has just the solution‹some good old foot stomping, high-energy music. Filling the bill will be old-time Appalachian music from the South Mountain String Band with a bit of Irish, Civil War, Colonial and Ragtime mixed in. The Arts Council's 9th Annual Cabin Fever Concert is set for Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 PM (Snow date Saturday, Feb. 26) at The Bottling Works, 426 E. Main St. in Romney. Admission for the event is $7, HCAC members $5, 16 and under free.

The South Mountain String Band, formerly known as Caruther's Others, was named the Best Old-Time Band at the 2001 Deer Creek Fiddler's Convention in Westminster, MD. Robbie Caruthers, fiddle, and Paul Mackrel, clawhammer banjo, have been playing music together for over twenty years and have won many competitions, both together and individually.

Mary Dailey joined the band a few years ago, adding solid guitar rhythms and mountain dulcimer and singing some moving ballads. Dailey first heard traditional mountain music while a volunteer at the Appalachian South Folklife Center in 1978. She found the music made a lasting impression. The working class music of Woodie Guthrie further inspired her songcraft.

Mackrel also contributes vocals to the group, called by his co-hort Dailey, "the Pavarotti of old-time singing." "It's back porch music," says Mackrell of old-time music. "You either love it or you don't," He loves it and has been playing clawhammer banjo since he heard country-folk stalwart Ralph Stanley play at a festival in 1975. He heard the rhythmic fiddle of the genre and fell in love.

While Appalachian music is the South Mountain String Band's primary focus, its eclectic repertoire also includes Civil War and Colonial tunes. According to Caruthers, clogging brings another dimension to the music. Joining in the fun for the evening will be the Rock Candy Cloggers, Rock Howland and Candy Ranlet, who have performed and taught Appalachian Clogging for several years in the Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia area. They perform regularly at the Washington Folk Festival, Common Ground on the Hill/American Music & Arts Festival family stage, First Night in Leesburg, VA, and several music and craft festivals in the greater DC area. Both have won or placed in several clogging competitions. Candy is the current free-style clog champion at the Deer Creek Fiddler's Convention in Westminster MD and Rock was runner up. Their credits include an appearance on the main stage at the Kennedy Center with the Navy Bluegrass band, "Country Current" in celebration of the Navy's 200th anniversary and two appearances on WBAL TV in Baltimore Md.

Hampshire Countians got a taste of that back in August of 2000 when The Rock Candy Cloggers performed with the Martin Family String Band for the Arts Council's Summer Concert on the Lawn.

Sponsored by FNB Romney, this program is presented with financial assistance from the WV Division of Culture & History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval by the WV Commission on the Arts.




Hampshire County Arts Council, P.O. Box 624, Romney, WV 26757    webmaster e-mail address

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