Appalachian Heaven String Band is a lively, driving five piece Melbourne-based string band, playing traditional "old time" music from Northern America. Instruments include fiddle, guitar, acoustic bass, autoharp and clawhammer banjo. The band is also vocally entertaining. They enliven concert stages, run square dances and give instrument workshops. Band members have extensive experience in square dance-calling, and in teaching banjo, fiddle and autoharp.
With its origins in traditional music of Europe and Africa, "old time" music is aptly named, representing perhaps the oldest form of North American traditional music other than Native American. The band's repertoire is from the rural south of the USA (Southern Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky). Many of the tunes are from recordings made between 1920 & 1940 but some folk, blues and modern country music songs are in there too. Appalachian Heaven String Band's first album, "In the Pines" was launched in April 2010 at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, where the band knocked everyone's socks off with their exceptional musical skills and obvious love of traditional material.
The second album "Railroadin' & Gamblin'" was launched in January 2011 at the Auckland Folk Festival. The band was a headline act, and closed out the final concert in spectacular style, having an enormous marquee of people on their feet and dancing with abandon.
The third album, "Been All Around This World" which is a fine example of how the band recreates and honours the music of the mountains, was launched at the Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania in January 2013.
Appalachian Heaven String Band festival appearances include Maldon Folk Festival, Great Alpine Pick, National Bluegrass and Traditional Music Convention, Kelly Country Pick in Beechworth, Healesville Music Festival, Yarra Junction Fiddlers' Convention, Guildford Banjo Jamboree, Blackwood Fiddlers' Convention as well as numerous wineries, weddings, contra or square dances, on-radio and parties.
The band members have more than thirty years experience playing old time music and are consider an institution in the old time and folk music community within Australia. Their instrumental prowess and strong lead vocals are evident throughout their performances. Expect to be overwhelmed and uplifted as this heart-warming band with an ethos to always engage and entertain is a must see experience!
Our bass player, Evan, is a multi-instrumentalist and singer, who has played in the folk scene since 1979. His introduction to folk music began when he joined the Rouseabouts Bush Band, playing guitar, mandolin and harmonica for concerts and dances. Evan has called Bush Dances and loves the Contradance tradition. He also plays dobro and is learning the musical saw. Evan is married to our fiddler, Maggie, and together they share their love of acoustic folk and dancing.
Graeme has performed with bands and as a solo artist/singer-songwriter at festivals, pubs and clubs for nearly 15 years. In the past 8 years he has been on a mission to "make the autoharp recognised", if not "popular" and has promoted the instrument through performances and workshops at folk, old-time and bluegrass festivals in Australia and America. He is one of the few Autoharp teachers in Australia. Graeme is currently playing with Appalachian Heaven String Band and in recent years has also been a guest musician on a number of other people's recordings.
Ian Alexander first became interested in old-time Appalachian music 20 years ago, and started playing clawhammer banjo. Ian visits the USA to go to the best fiddle festivals every year and has sponsored bringing USA musicians each year out to Australia for Harrietvile Festival and the National Folk Festival. Ian has been taught banjo by some of the greatest current Appalachian players and has played with many fine fiddlers, including many old fiddlers from the last generation. Ian started the Appalachian Heaven String Band seven years ago. Ian loves playing with his band at many Victorian music festivals.
It has been a long and crooked road that has led Kimberley to Appalachian Heaven and Old Time music. It began with grunge metal and electric bass shoe gazing in Boxmonster, with assorted ventures across the sunny hillsides of pop music and the folk/jazz Dan Hicks inspired Innocent Bystanders, before turning left Albuquerque to the valley of bluegrass and Uncle Bill.
In reflecting upon this long and arduous journey, Kim will agree that the future is Old Time.
Sometimes Kim is also spotted with the Le Blanc Brothers Cajun Band and Big Bug Quartet.
Hi! I have played fiddle in dance bands for more years that I care to count. I studied classical violin and piano from childhood, but soon discovered the joys of Old-timey and Celtic traditional fiddle music. My current passion is Contra and Square dancing and the wonderful music from Canada, New England and the Appalachian mountains that goes with it. I call dances and get people "bush dancing" at all sorts of parties and events. I also love to teach violin and especially traditional fiddle styles. My students are of all ages and stages. I run regular open workshops in fiddle music throughout the year, and convene the Chestnut Street Orchestra, a friendly collective that grew out of these workshops and now plays for dances around Melbourne and at music club venues and community events.
Sally Taylor is a founding member of the bands Flap!, Dev'lish Mary and Triskel. She currently plays with Stray Hens, Nigel Wearne, Rising Tide, Triskel and the Ugly Uncles, and at the 2013 Port Fairy Folk Festival soloed for Arlo Guthrie at the Woody Guthrie 100 year Anniversary Tribute Concert to a packed house. She plays a diversity of folk styles with flare and passion including old time bluegrass with Peter Daffy and Steve Gilchrist, and at the 2013 National Folk Festival played with USA's Mandolin legend Mike Compton