Although Wade Ward made his living as a Virginia farmer, his enduring legacy is that of a strongly talented banjo player who emerged from a talented musical family in the early part of the 20th century. It was Ward's older brother, Crockett, who was his main influence. Twenty years Wade's senior, Crockett was a masterful player himself and he filled his younger brother with the Appalachian banjo and fiddle styles of the day. Wade then began forming his own bands to play at country dances and auctions, first recruiting fiddler Van Edwards and his son, guitarist Earl. In the early '30s, the inevitable happened when Wade and Crockett teamed up, along with Crockett's son Fields, to form the Bog Trotters Band, one of the most gifted acoustic groups around. Folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the group, recording them for the Library of Congress in 1937. And like most of the folk groups of that era, the Bog Trotters Band were able to capitalize on the many folk revivals of the '40s and '50s, appearing at festivals and fairs until the members were well into their old age.
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