The Crooked Road Ramblers are an old-time band from the Blue Ridge Mountains, steeped in the traditional music of the area. You can find them providing a mixture of instrumental dance music, old ballads and traditional country and bluegrass at notable venues across the region like the Carter Family Fold, Houstonfest, the Albert Hash Memorial Festival, and the Wayne Henderson Festival They have won 1st place in the old-time band category at the Ashe County, Alleghany County, Laurel Bloomery, Fries & Union Grove Fiddlers Conventions in addition to being named the old time instrumental group of the year at the Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising.
The band was started in 2002 by fiddler Kilby Spencer, originally from Whitetop, Virginia. Kilby has been playing old-time music most of his life, learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily, who revived the Whitetop Mountain Band in 1975. He also counts local fiddlers Johnny Miller and Dean Sturgill amongst his influences, in addition to recordings of Albert Hash, Otis Burris, and G.B. Grayson. Kilby has collected and digitized rare local recordings for many years and serves on the board of the Field Recorders Collective, whose mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. He started the band in hopes of carrying on the regional big band sound that makes people want to dance.
Kelley Breiding of Crumpler,NC propels the band forward with her clawhammer banjo playing and high-powered vocals. Kelley has won many blue ribbons for her banjo playing and also leads her own traditional country music group, Kelley and the Cowboys.
John Perry plays guitar and also sings. John is a retired welder from Independence,VA and grew up playing with his brothers, Buck (banjo) and Arnold (guitar), in a band called The New River Ramblers (which featured fiddlers such as Jerry Moretz,Thornton Spencer and James Burris). They were frequent prize winners and favorites of dancers throughout the region for most of the 1970s until they disbanded in the late 1980s. John’s individualistic guitar style gives the band much of its unique driving sound. John is also a wonderful singer who has that “high lonesome” sound. His father played clawhammer banjo and also sang.
Ali Kafka plays guitar. Ali got her start as a street musician. She’d take up tunes with accompaniment by fiddles, cellos, washboards, or jugs when she wasn’t playing counterpoint duets with fellow country blues guitarists. Enamored with the nuance and feeling of 78 record–era blues and string band tunes, Ali has passionately sought to preserve its driving bass and loping syncopation for new audiences.
Jesse Morris plays bass. Jesse comes from a musical family in Southwest Virginia and provides rock-solid bass playing to anchor any song and drive it forward.
Wayne Dye of Cleveland, VA plays mandolin and also sings for the band. Wayne is a retired coal miner from the coal fields of Russell County and can play anything with strings, in addition to singing many vocal parts. Wayne comes from a musical family. His father, Scott Dye, was a well known banjo player who could play both clawhammer and bluegrass style banjo. Wayne and his father along with fiddler Trigg Fields were members of the Russell County Boys , a very popular band at dances and fiddlers’ conventions.