Hailing from the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia, the Hillbilly Gypsies have been making and performing their own brand of old time bluegrass and original mountain music for over a decade. Formed in 2001 from a chance meeting at the now infamous Wednesday night old time jam in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Hillbilly Gypsies have been pickin’ and grinnin’ and entertaining their loyal fans ever since. The band is best known for their high-energy live performances; and they have become a crowd favorite at major festivals, fairs and concert venues all across the mid-Atlantic region and abroad. They perform in the old fashioned style, playing around a single vintage ribbon microphone. This “old timey” approach adds an authentic high-energy barn party atmosphere to their show. Watching the whole band work around the mic is like taking a trip back in time. It’ll sure make you want to get up and dance!
And don’t let the flash of their lively stage performance and choreography fool ya. These folks are highly skilled musicians and seasoned entertainers. Their lightning fast, award-winning picking skills and musical arrangements mixed with natural comedic wit and high, lonesome mountain vocal harmonies are sure to catch your ear right away. Combine that with a knack for original songwriting and a strong passion for old time and traditional music, and this makes for an authentic and exciting musical experience that you won’t soon forget. One listen and you’ll know that you are getting the real deal! The Gypsies are more than a band – they are a tight-knit family, mindful of tradition but bold explorers of new and authentic styles of acoustic music and entertainment.
Some notable highlights about the Hillbilly Gypsies include:
• Listed as “The most innovative musicians redefining mountain music in West Virginia Today” by WV Division of Tourism.
• Featured on several nationally syndicated TV and radio shows such as Mountain Stage, Song of the Mountains, Woodsongs, Red Barn Radio, & the Wheeling Jamboree.
• Listed as the most innovative musicians redefining mountain music in West Virginia by the West Virginia tourism website – http://gotowv.com/.
• Voted West Virginia’s best band by West Virginia Living Magazine in 2014 & 2016.
• Voted the best band in Morgantown, West Virginia by Morgantown Magazine.
• Winners of the DelFest Band Competition.
• Featured regularly at the historic Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, and mentioned in the New York Times for lively appearances there.
• Featured on BBC television in 2011.
The Gypsies have played many major bluegrass festival events around the country including the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Delfest, Summersville Music in the Mountains Festival, the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, the OATS Bluegrass Festival, Mohican Bluegrass Festival, the Pickin’ in Parsons Bluegrass Festival, Appalachian Uprising, the Rockahock Bluegrass Festival, the NEPA Bluegrass Festival, the Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival, the Homegrown Bluegrass Festival at Snowshoe, Bluegrass in the Hills, Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival, Smoked Country Jam Bluegrass Festival, Hickory Fest, and many more.
Trae and Jamie Lynn Buckner, original founding members and lead singers for the band, are also husband and wife. In addition to playing all across the country for the last sixteen years together, the duo has performed internationally on multiple occasions. They have performed four times at the Al Ras Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival in Barcelona, Spain – headlining the festival’s ten year anniversary. In addition to their Barcelona performances, they have played in England, Prague, the Czech Republic, Italy and Ireland. They recently traveled to Asia to perform in Thailand. Trae and Jamie Lynn not only represent the Hillbilly Gypsies, they represent American mountain music and the heritage and culture of West Virginia and Appalachia while traveling abroad.
Current band members are:
• Trae Buckner (guitar, clawhammer banjo, harmonica, lead & harmony vocals)
• Jamie Lynn Buckner (lead & harmony vocals)
• Ben Townsend (fiddle, banjo, & vocals)
• Levi Houston Sanders (banjo, guitar, autoharp, mandolin, & vocals)
• Ryan Cramer (upright bass & harmony vocals)
Ben Townsend is a multi-instrumentalist who has carried the music he learned in his native West Virginia all over the U.S. and the world. Having worked with many of old time and bluegrass music’s greats, Ben is also an instructor. A state clawhammer champion, Levi Sanders is a multi-instrumentalist and accomplished music historian. Ryan Cramer is one of the most solid bass players in the business, having worked with multiple bands throughout the years. The Gypsies have released six CDs over the years that represent some of the best Appalachian music you’ll ever hear.
For an evening of unforgettable old time, bluegrass, and traditional music - come out and see the Hillbilly Gypsies at the Carter Family Fold. Don’t forget to bring along your dancing shoes. Their gospel tunes are reminiscent of the old time tent meetings, and there will be music to suit everyone’s taste. Be prepared for an evening of high-energy, no holes barred family fun! The Gypsies have become a Carter Family Fold favorite. To learn more about the Hillbilly Gypsies, go to their site at: http://thehillbillygypsies.com/.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic mountain music. The center is a family-friendly, drug and alcohol free venue. In addition to the performance area, we maintain the Carter Family Museum and the A.P. Carter birthplace cabin. Both the cabin and the museum are historic landmarks and are open from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and later at performance intermission on Saturdays. For more information on the center, go to our site on the internet –www.carterfamilyfold.org/. Partial program funding for programs is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Marketing and technical assistance are provided by Virginia Tourism Corporation. To access recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. We can be found on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold volunteer staff member, call 276-594-0676. If we don’t answer you right away, we’ll get back to you in 24 hours.