Wheeling Bluegrass Festival Bands
Johnny Staats & the Delivery Boys
Born and raised in West Virginia, Johnny Staats is world renowned mandolin picker. When he and the Delivery Boys (Butch Osborne – banjo, Ray Cossin – fiddle & vocals, John Ingrahm – bass & vocals, Davey Vaughn – guitar & vocals) hit the stage audiences can expect to experience the “wow factor” as the band takes off.
“Some like to say that Mr. Staats’s music is bewitching: everyone who hears it falls under its spell. He is one of those rare musicians who appears out of nowhere with his style honed from years of nonstop practice but who has not been jaded by the music business.
His playing is dazzlingly fast but always precise and never showy. His voice is sweet and warm and lends itself to easy harmonies. He has a classical-music ear for arranging pieces and varying the theme; and he composes his own instrumentals, programmatic pieces that tell stories of traveling and hunting.” – Neil Strauss, New York Times
Johnny has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and has been featured on CNN, NBC’s Today Show, and the CBS Evening News. He won the Charleston Vandalia Gathering mandolin championship in 1996, 1997, and 1999; in 1997 he also won the guitar title and place third in the fiddle competition. A true-born son of West Virginia, he supports local instrument makers by playing ones made in the Parkersburg area, which is also home to the Johnny Staats Bluegrass Festival, part of the Parkersburg homecoming every year. He lives in Sandyville, West Virginia.
Grand Ole’ Ditch
Grand Ole’ Ditch is all about having some new fun with that old Appalachian sound. They began as a home-brewed bluegrass band out of the mountain town of Cumberland MD, deriving their name from an important piece of Western Maryland history: the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The Canal, nicknamed the Grand Old Ditch, carried coal from the Allegheny Mountains to the East Coast during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bluegrass told the story of the people of this era, and was an essential part of their culture.
Grand Ole’ Ditch is now creating a presence of their own in the Mid-Atlantic bluegrass scene. Featuring the familiar bluegrass instruments we have all come to love, and a collaborative approach to original songwriting, the band has built a solid repertoire of music that is both steeped in tradition and refreshingly modern. Their critically acclaimed album work and lively performances have captured audiences of all ages. From one era to the next, it’s music to your ears.
Herb & Hanson
The acoustic duo, Herb & Hanson, features two songwriters expressing themselves with little more than a guitar, a mandolin, and their respective voices. Based out of Virginia, these restless ragamuffins have performed for audiences from Alaska’s gold mines to California’s grape-vines. They’ve wowed crowds from the Great Lakes to the Carolinas; from the dry deserts of the southwest to the wet wilderness of the north east. Their voracious work ethic noticeably shines through as their vocal harmonies intertwine with their adept instrumental work to bring their original compositions alive to any able listener.
Herb & Hanson perform songs written and composed from their unique life experiences and the myriad of musical inspirations from Americana’s oldest influences. Incorporating the blues styles of both the Piedmont and Delta regions, the lyrical themes of the Blue Ridge hills, and the Ragtime bounce of America’s oldest cities into their songwriting and live show, this prodigious pair seeks to relay these traditions in a contemporary way for their audience to ruminate.
Almost Famous is an Ohio Valley bluegrass favorite featuring some of the area’s finest bluegrass musicians. The band first formed in 2004 featuring Steven Moore, now a two-time National Bluegrass Banjo Champion. The group is rooted with the rock-solid bass playing of Harold Dailey, founder of the Pennyroyal Opera House, now the area’s bluegrass capital. Driving rhythm and dazzling lead guitar are brought to the stage by Joshua Hetrick, who grew up closely with the members and music of the legendary Hutchison Brothers. The band is completed with the strong back-beat and melody-driven mandolin leads provided by Micah Fuchs, who is also the principal of Barnesville High School. The group performs throughout the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania tri-state, sharing with its audiences a selection of important bluegrass favorites, entertaining cross-genre covers, and exciting original material.
Cabin Fever String Band
For 31 years, the Cabin Fever String Band has been entertaining audiences with their distinctive blend of old time, gospel, and bluegrass music while performing in a variety of venues including square dances, festivals, fairs, coffeehouses, churches, and concerts. Age old ballads, fiddle tunes from their native state of West Virginia and the southern Appalachian region, sentimental songs from the days of early recorded country music, spiritual songs, traditional bluegrass favorites, and even the occasional blues, jug band, or Celtic tune all are represented in an interesting repertoire that includes both commonly known and obscure material. Their eclectic mix of styles all played and sung with an undeniable respect for the tradition from which the music came has become a hallmark of the group. In a review of their first recording in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, David J. McCarty praised the band for “presenting the music in its original unvarnished state.”
Cabin Fever String Band performances are accented by twin fiddle arrangements, strong vocal harmonies, and the demonstration of clog dancing by fiddler, Scott Black. Other members include: Richard Pollack (clawhammer banjo, fiddle, bass, vocals, mandolin and Irish tin whistle), Matt Hines (bluegrass banjo and acoustic string bass), Jim Simpson (mandolin and vocals), and Bob Heyer (guitar and vocals).
Marsh Wheeling String Band
The Marsh Wheeling String Band has been transporting its fans to a simpler era since 2005. This Wheeling-based quintet has lent its high-energy, old time sound to venues such as West Liberty University, Mountain Moon Coffeehouse, Zoo Brew, and Oglebayfest, and their enthusiastic fan base reliably packs the dance floor when the fiddle bow starts flying. The MWSB features Carter Kenamond: banjo, Melissa Potter: fiddle, Chris Wack: guitar, Justin Kiger: bass, Paul Redilla: mandolin, Liz Rector: vocals.
Wheeling Park High School Bluegrass Band
The Wheeling Park High School Bluegrass Band from Wheeling WV, has a unique place in the history of Bluegrass Music and particularly for introducing other young people to this music. Audiences everywhere are intrigued when they see these young people on stage. Watching high school students perform bluegrass is a unique and captivating experience, and almost always engenders a visceral reaction from the audience: That this music, so natural and organic to Appalachia, should of course be played by young people. That feeling has spread far beyond the borders of Appalachia.
Through the years, the Wheeling Park Students have performed on the main stages at major festivals such as Bean Blossom Indiana (where they won the band competition competing against all adult bands), Gettysburg Festival, and The Festival of The Bluegrass, in Lexington, Kentucky. They have toured Japan opening for Nashville mandolinist, singer and songwriter Sierra Hull; played for the late US Senator, Robert C. Byrd at the Nation’s Capitol. They have shared the stage with The Del McCoury Band, IIIrd Time Out, James King, Kenny Baker, the Nashville Bluegrass Band and dozens of others. They often appear at local venues such as Oglebay Park, The Pennyroyal Opera House, WWVA Jamboree, and Oglebay Institute’s Mountain Moon Coffeehouse.
The Roadhogs About 10 years ago the Roadhogs first appeared in the Wheeling area playing a mash-up of bluegrass, rock, and country; today they are without a doubt the largest, physically speaking, bluegrass band in northern West Virginia. As the “house band” of Snoozies, The Roadhog Band is equipped to entertain groups of 10 people to crowds of hundreds. The Roadhogs continue to hone their skills playing at different venues around the great state of West Virginia and are in the business of making friends at the various bluegrass festivals they participate in each year.
The Roadhogs are: Shane Walters (banjo & vocals), Andy Walters (guitar, harmonica & vocals), Justin Kiger (upright bass), Chunk “Scott” Miller (guitar, dobro, upright bass& vocals), Tim Jones (guitar, harmonica & vocals), Jay Hunt (guitar) and Chad Kleeh (mandolin & vocals).