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Loafers Dream - CD


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Whitetop Mountain Band

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Thornton Spencer, Emily Spencer, Jackson Cunningham
Martha Spencer & Debbie Bramer

Artist Biography

Whitetop Mountain Band originated with Albert Hash in the 1940s, a well-known and beloved fiddler and luthier. When he was a teenager, Albert played fiddle with Henry Whitter of “Grayson & Whitter” which recorded during the 1920’s. Albert had a tremendous impact on the old time and bluegrass scene. The tune, “Hangman’s Reel” that Albert recorded is the version played by so many old time musicians today. He also taught such luthiers as Wayne Henderson, Audrey Ham, and many others to build instruments. In the 1970s, Albert’s brother-in-law, Thornton Spencer (twin fiddle), and his wife, Emily Spencer (banjo, vocals), joined Albert in the Whitetop Mountain Band. The three also started an old time music program at Mt. Rogers School, a small k-12 public school, in Whitetop. The students learn fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and dancing. Emily Spencer carries on the program and it has much regional and national attention for its uniqueness, including features on CMT, numerous articles and radio shows and a Grammy Award nomination.

Band members include:

Thornton Spencer - fiddle
Emily Spencer - vocals, banjo & guitar
Martha Spencer - vocals, guitar, banjo & fiddle
Jackson Cunningham - vocals & mandolin
Debbir Bramer - upright acoustic bass

Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a great following at square dances all over Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky at venues like the Carter Family Fold. In addition to local venues, the band has also performed at the Smithsonian Folk life Festival, National Folk life Festival, World Music Institute in NYC, Dock Boggs Festival, World Fair, Virginia Arts Festival, Floydfest, Ola Belle Reed Festival and Merlefest. They recently were featured on the 2007 NCTA Crooked Road Music tour of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho. Members also toured the United Kingdom and Ireland playing the Cornish Bluegrass Festival and Open House Festival along with venues through England, Wales, and Ireland. In January 2008, members of the band also performed at the Illawarra Folk Festival and Tamworth Country Music Festival in New South Wales, Australia. 

Band members actively teach as master musicians and dancers for workshops and classes in fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals, and dance all over the US. Some of these include Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC, Cowan Creek Music School in KY, Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap, and Mt. Rogers Combined School. The Whitetop Mountain Band has been featured in many books, magazines, and television and radio shows about Appalachian music such as The Guide to the Crooked Road, A Hotbed of Musicians, Strings of Life, In Good Keeping, Country Music Television, Travel Channel, PBS, Old Time Herald, and many television and radio news and special interest programs. 

Band Contact Information:

Emily Spencer
273 Tug Lane
Mouth of Wilson, VA  24363
(276) 579-4322

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