First CD by this now well-known group, raw edged takes on Appalachia, old time, etc. Completely authentic. The Black Twigs represents the continued persistence of a type of Appalachian folk music that has come and gone from the popular radar over the years, but has never really disappeared from the band's Southwest Virginia home. The songs on "North Fork Flyer" are mostly traditional numbers (with a few originals sprinkled in) that form the backbone of a century-old tradition - the music of bonfires, front porches, coal miner's festivals, and informal gatherings. Over the years, "mountain ragas" (as the group calls them) like "Angelina Baker," "Spike Driver's Blues," "Poor Boy Long Ways From Home" and "Sail Away Ladies" have been recorded, performed, and revised continually by luminaries such as Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt, John Fahey, Bob Wills, Holy Modal Rounders, New Lost City Ramblers, etc, etc - a who's who of true American artistry. Recorded live to DAT on front porches and in family rooms, "North Fork Flyer" blends fiddle blues, sinewy guitar and the drone and twitch of fretless clawhammer banjo with the band's rough-around-the-edges but warm harmonies. Played to the accompaniment of night insects, passing trains, and the noise of wandering children, the music retains the charm of tradition but is free of fake antiquarianism and nostalgia - regardless of age, the music is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago and the band plays it like they mean it. The band name comes from the oldest, most crotchety apple variety in the orchard that fiddler Ralph Berrier's family maintains along the musically fertile Virginia-North Carolina line.
released May 22, 2017
Ralph Berrier Jr: Fiddle, Vocals
Mike Gangloff: Banjo, Vocals
Isak Howell: Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
with Dan Crawford: Spoons
Recorded on front porches and in front rooms in Ironto and Roanoke, VA, Autumn and Winter 2000. Thanks to Amy, Chris, Ruth and Tycho, to Bill Kellum, to Tom Angleberger for Artwork, and to the many people who helped write these songs. A few notes: Spike Driver's Blues is from John Hurt, the Monroe Brothers, and all the Nine Pound Hammers; Ralph's Cousin Rafe Brady had a lot to do with Ebeneezer, but Coolidge Winsett showed us how to play it; We wrote Great Valley Mine for the Montgomery-Pulaski County Miner's Association; Reuben's Blues came from Kentucky but ended up somewhere else.
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