Old Sledge is a group of young musicians from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Blowing the dust off old tunes and songs from the golden era of early country, hillbilly and blues music, Old Sledge represents the best and brightest of the new generation of traditional musicians from the south. Far from being re-enactors of old time music they bring creative arrangements and dynamic performances while still holding true to the mountain aesthetic in which they are rooted.
The band has a powerful combination of excellent singing and instrumentals. Their repertoire spans the gamut of old time country and blues music, moving from virtuosic fiddle tunes to Appalachian murder ballads to greasy blues. The band is quickly gaining notoriety, not only as a great performance ensemble, but also as a torchbearer of traditional music.
Members of the band have sought out and mentored with the old masters of traditional music, soaking up not only the tunes but also the authentic style and spirit of old time music. Collectively, the band has won numerous awards for their music including the West Virginia Fiddle and Banjo championships, as well as 1st place at The Appalachian String Band Festival (Clifftop, WV). Members have performed in such prestigious venues such as The Kennedy Center, The Barbican, Carnegie Hall, and starred in the BBC television production "Folk America".
Old Sledge performs in a variety of settings including festivals, concerts and dances. They also lead workshops in traditional Appalachian singing and playing and have been faculty at the Augusta Heritage Center, Pinewoods Dance Camp, Allegheny Echoes, Cowan Creek and Champlain Valley Folk Festival.
Chance McCoy :: fiddle, banjo, guitar vocals
As a native of West Virginia, Chance has steeped himself in the songs and tunes of the mountains he grew up in, emerging from the youngest generation of old time players as a masterful steward of the tradition. His fiddling and banjo playing has won him blue ribbons at contests throughout the southern mountains, including the West Virginia State Fiddle and Banjo contest, and the Appalachian Stringband Music Festival (Clifftop).
Sabra Guzmán :: guitar, banjo ukulele, upright bass, vocals
Being defined as “the Gypsy”, Sabra has traveled far and wide, coast to coast, continent to continent, soaking up people, their stories, and experiences that she’s felt a close connection to. Over the past few years, she’s found herself settling into the mountains of southwest Virginia, honing her skills on guitar and upright bass. Falling in love with the Carter Family, old field-recordings from the South, and early country music singers, she’s become inspired to travel and play this music full-time.
Ben Townsend :: banjo
West Virginia native Ben Townsend grew up amidst Hampshire County's rich musical heritage. At a young age he learned to play banjo and guitar in the old-time way. Encouraged by such local fiddlers as Paul Roomsburg, Joe Herrmann and Israel Welch he has gone on to amass a great catalog of traditional fiddle tunes, banjo pieces and songs. While in college at Shepherd University Ben used his summers to study banjo from stalwarts such as Riley Bogus and Jimmy Costa at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV. Apon graduation, again with the help of the Heritage Center's apprenticeship program, he went on to study the traditional fiddle styles of Central West Virginia and Kentucky from Dave Bing of Roan County, WV and John Harrod of Owen County, Kentucky. Having spent time learning both banjo and fiddle in the styles of both West Virginia and Kentucky, Ben's knowledge is not quick to run out.
While traveling and learning traditional music, Ben also took the time to join The Fox Hunt, a string band from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He is also a member of a more traditional string band called the Iron Leg Boys with fiddler Andy Fitzgibbon and guitarist Matt Metz.