The Briarhoppers

2003 NC Folk Heritage Award

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Less a bluegrass band than a traditional Appalachian string band with bluegrass overtones, the Briarhoppers have been an institution in North Carolina since the 1930s, mostly through the group's association with radio station WBT out of Charlotte. With a floating membership that seems to consist of whichever musicians can show up to play at a particular gig, the Briarhoppers are generally centered around the vocals of Arval Hogan and Roy "Whitey" Grant. This release mimics a typical Briarhoppers live show (it actually closes with five tracks recorded in concert), including three separate versions of the band's signature tune, "Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie." Nothing here is very high-octane, and fans of the blazing banjos and flying mandolins style of contemporary bluegrass will doubtless be disappointed. What shines through here, though, is a shared sense of community, and the feeling that the day is plenty long enough, so why hurry more than the song demands.

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