The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia will present a concert of traditional bluegrass music by Appalachian Trail at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Adult admission to the concert is $10, $1 for children ages 6 to 11 and children under age 6 are admitted for free.
Appalachian Trail is a union of seasoned and innovative singers, songwriters and musicians who are breaking new ground in the bluegrass arena. Ireland, Scotland, England, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Holland and Switzerland are some of the countries that have hosted the talents of the individuals in this band. They have also traveled coast-to-coast here at home. Formed in 1984, the band combines strong lead vocals, tight harmonies and distinctive picking.
Original members Linda Lay and Carson Cooper were traveling to their first show and did not have a name for the band when they saw a sign that read “Appalachian Trail” and decided on that until they thought of something better.
The name was fitting and has stood the test of time — 30 years later, the band is still burning new trails in the bluegrass arena. This band helped cultivate the careers of the likes of Adam Steffey, John Bowman, Becky Buller and countless others. Currently based out of northeast Tennessee, the band performs mostly at local venues as current members have full-time careers in other professions.
Tommy Austin is no stranger to the bluegrass community. He started playing guitar and singing with his mother in church growing up in Fall Branch, Tennessee. After hearing Jim McCamey play, he moved to the mandolin when he became interested in the bluegrass sound.
Through the years, he has played in several bands including the Horsecreek Mountain Boys, Clear Creek, the Rising Wind, Limited Edition, Tennessee Skyline and the Hopsons. Currently he sings lead and harmony, plays mandolin and shares the songwriting and arranging with the other members of Appalachian Trail.
Vickie Austin began singing at an early age with her dad in church. At age 13, she was given an old upright piano for her birthday. She sang with her sister for many years and eventually discovered a love for the bluegrass sound. Vickie sang and played bass for Twin Springs Bluegrass Band and eventually joined her husband in Appalachian Trail. She developed an extensive vocal range and honed her skills on the upright bass. Vickie plays bass for the group and sings lead and harmony vocals.
Allen Hughes has played guitar with Appalachian Trail for six years. A life-long love of music became apparent to his family when, at the age of four, he declared he wanted to be “Johnny Cash” when he grew up. Traditional country music, especially songs by Merle Haggard, has been a big influence on him. As a teenager, he was introduced to and took lessons from G.C. Matlock in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
Soon after, he played with several friends from college in the band Blue Ridge Tradition. While playing jams at festivals, the back room of the Down Home, the Chuck Trading Post and the Rheatown Store, he met his friend and band mate, Tommy Austin.
Their first musical experience began in the late eighties in the band, the Rising Wind. Their friendship and music has grown over 25 years. He lends his vocals to several songs on lead, baritone and bass. His distinctive style sets him apart from most guitar players.
Glen Rose has been playing the banjo since the age of 10 and was inspired by his cousin Buddy Rose who gave him lessons. Other influences include Earl Scruggs, J.D. Crowe, Carl Jackson and countless others. Glen has played with several groups through the years and at an early age of 14, Glen and his brother John performed as special guests of Lester Flatt on the Grand Ole Opry.
He has been a part of the ETSU Bluegrass Band while working on his BS degree in computer science. He has appeared on several albums over the years and has his own solo banjo instrumental album. In his spare time, Glen teaches guitar and banjo.
Joining Appalachian Trail on fiddle will be Ashley Davis. Ashley is well-known and loved by Fold audiences. A tremendous bluegrass and old time fiddler, she’ll keep the audience up on the dance floor.
For some of the best traditional bluegrass music around, don’t miss Appalachian Trail at the Carter Family Fold. For additional information on the group, check out their website — www.appygrass.com. Vickie has been playing on the Carter Fold stage since she was a little girl, and Appalachian Trail has performed many times over the years. The Fold is always proud to welcome them back.
Appalachian Trail will also perform at the Down Home from 8-10:30 p.m. Friday. Admission is $14 at the door. For more information, call the Down Home at 423-929-9822.