Join us on March 18 in Wytheville for this month’s WCC Bluegrass & Old-Time Jamboree, featuring Whitetop Mountain Band and Cabin Creek Bluegrass Band.

The Whitetop Mountain Band, hailing from Whitetop, Virginia in Grayson County and longtime collaborators with the Virginia Folklife Program, has entertained audiences for more than 40 years. Renowned fiddler and instrument builder Albert Hash started the band in the 1940s. He was later joined by his brother-in-law, master fiddler Thornton Spencer, and Thornton’s wife, singer, banjoist, and music instructor Emily Spencer. The band has featured several line-ups over the years, but long kept its core of Thornton, Emily, and their remarkably talented daughter, multi-instrumentalist Martha Spencer. Sadly, Thornton Spencer passed away in 2017, but his son Kilby has stepped in to fill his father’s formidable shoes on fiddle. Along with Kilby, Martha, and Emily, the Whitetop Mountain Band features; Ersel Fletcher on guitar and vocals; and Debbie Bramer on bass.

The long-running WCC Jamboree begins with a set by the award-winning Cabin Creek Bluegrass Band, of Smyth County, Virginia, and featuring Christa Shirley on fiddle, Tim Lewis on banjo, Carrol Shores on guitar, N.R. Taylor on dobro, Will Eller on bass, and Jack Wells on mandolin.

This event is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted to help defray the travel expenses of the bands.

Can’t join us in-person? The Virginia Folklife Program is planning to record audio from the set and share it on our website. Stay tuned!

Thornton Spencer: Fiddling Through the Years & Tall Tales Compilation

Album cover for Fiddling Through the Years, showing Thornton Spencer sitting on a bench, holding a fiddle, and waving
Album cover for Fiddling Through the Years

We’re excited to share that this jamboree will serve as an album release party for Fiddling Through the Years, a 2-CD set highlighting fiddler Thornton Spencer’s legendary status in the history of bluegrass. In addition, as a companion to the album, Kilby Spencer has published a compilation of local tales collected by Thornton and dictated to Emily in the 1970s. Both the CD and “Thornton Spencer: Tall Tales and Funny Happenings from Grayson County, VA and Ashe County, NC” will be available for sale at the event.

The production of the album and book of tales was supported in part with funding from the Virginia Folklife Program.

Sugar Hill featuring Emily Spencer on banjo, Johnny Gentry on guitar, and Nancy Gentry on bass.