The band Hickory Wind formed in late 1972/early 1973 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Original band members Sam Morgan, Bob Shank, Pete Tenney, and Glen McCarthy, all students at West Virginia University, were joined in May 1973 by lead vocalist Mark Walbridge. The Hickory Wind sound jelled during the summer of 1973, when the group was the 'house band' at the Coolfont Resort in Berkeley Springs, WV. During that first summer, the band also played their first college concert (at Frostburg State College, now Frostburg University, MD), their first festival (at Watermelon Park in Berryville, VA), and performed on a hay wagon at Antietam National Battlefield. While at Coolfont, the band became acquainted with Washington, DC-based FCC lawyer Bobby Baker (not that Bobby Baker), who expressed an interest in managing the group and bringing their unique old-timey sound to Washington, DC.
In the Fall of 1973, the band moved to Washington, DC, and began to play regularly on the DC club circuit. In early 1974, in their first serious concert appearance, they opened for Doc Watson at Lisner Auditorium. Later that year, they recorded their first album, At The Wednesday Night Waltz, for the Adelphi Label. In 1975, they recorded their second album, Fresh Produce, for the Flying Fish label, and made the first of two European tours for the US Information Agency, bringing their unique blend of Appalachian and Celtic music to Iceland, Spain, Romania, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Austria, Tunisia, and Portugal. It was also during this period that they began working with the Stone County booking agency out of Denver, Colorado. Through their association with Stone County, they toured regularly with performers such as John Hartford, John Prine, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
In 1976, they appeared at the legendary festival, Stompin' '76, in Galax, Virginia, sharing the bill with John Prine and Bonnie Raitt. The year 1976 also saw a return to Europe with their second USIA-sponsored tour, taking them to Austria, Hungary Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Greece. In early 1976, original bassist Glen McCarthy left the group, and was replace by bassist Dave Rice, a former member of The Heavy Metal Kids.
Unfortunately, Fresh Produce was not the strong follow-up to At the Wednesday Night Waltz that the band needed to advance their career to the next level, and while the band worked diligently on their 3rd album during 1977-1978, they struggled financially. The band's sound was developing from traditional Appalachian folk music to an Appalachian style more reminiscent of the seminal English Celtic rock bands Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. For the first sessions for their third album, Crossing Devil's Bridge, also on Flying Fish, the band hired Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks, and when original fiddler Pete Tenney left the band in late 1977, multi-instrumentalist Sam Morgan took over on fiddle, allowing the band to add a full-time drummer, Hank Pittman.
This personnel change signaled a new era for Hickory Wind in which the band was transformed from an acoustic string band to an Appalachian folk rock ensemble. Not satisfied with the 'Dave Mattacks' sessions recorded at Bias Studios, the band went back into the studio, producing the final tracks for Crossing Devil's Bridge themselves, in collaboration with engineer Nick Koumoutseas, at No Evil Multimedia Studios in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the more than 2 year gap since the release of Fresh Produce had taken its toll financially, and the group disbanded virtually on the eve of the release of Crossing Devil's Bridge.
No Fish Today is a unique chronicle of the folk rock ensemble that represented the Hickory Wind's final days. Outtakes and alternate tracks from both of the Crossing Devil's Bridge sessions (Bias Studios and No Evil) are interspersed with live tracks from the band's final appearance at No Fish Today in Baltimore, MD. All of the tracks are previously unreleased. The blending of studio and live tracks gives the listener a true picture of Hickory Wind at their best, both in the studio, with its endless possibilities for manipulating and massaging the band's sound, as well as in live performance, where Hickory Wind always excelled. Listening to these recordings, it will be hard to imagine that they were made more than 30 years ago.