About Bob Heyer
Bob Heyer, a native of Wheeling, West Virginia, has been
performing with various groups and as a solo artist since
1970. Since 1986, he has been a singer/guitarist for the
Cabin Fever String Band. He has released three solo recordings, Root That Mountain Down(1995),Close To the Heart(1999), and That Lonesome Road (2005) as well as a recording with the Cabin Fever String Band entitled Havin'
A Fine Old Time (1995).
He has a broad range of experience both as a solo performer and with other musicians. A few notable performances in recent years include the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee in Jane Lew, West Virginia; the Augusta Festival in Elkins,West Virginia; the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville,West Virginia; the Mountain Rose Concert Series in Kent, Ohio; the Ohio Chautauqua in Ashland,Ohio; Scott's Folkatorium in Akron, Ohio and the Allegheny Echoes Workshops in Marlinton, West Virginia.
His material draws from traditional ballads and folk songs
from West Virginia,old time country,country blues, contemporary songs from writers such as Jean Ritchie,Si Kahn,Bruce Phillips, Woodie Guthrie,Bob Dylan, and original songs.
He has been an instructor at the Allegheny Echoes Workshops in Pocahontas County, West Virginia and at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins,West Virginia teaching guitar and vocal repertoire of West Virginia traditional songs.During the summer of 2005, he was a visting master artist who shared his knowledge of the traditional songs of West Virginia with students at the Allegheny Echoes Workshops.
Since 1986, he has co-ordinated a monthly concert series in Wheeling,WV the Mountain Moon Coffeehouse.He has written
about old time music in West Virginia for Goldenseal magazine, a publication of the West Virginia Department of Culture and History and provided the liner notes for the recording-Lest We Forget: The 50th Annual West Virginia Folk Festival.
Notes from That Lonesome Road
About the Singer
Old time music at its best refuses to be simply acoustic
wallpaper, or background mood music;it is vitally engaged
with the way we are living right here and right now and it
offers no easy way out.The best performers of the old-time
repertoire deliver the goods in such an individualized and artistic way tht these songs,known to us in many cases for centuries,are reinvented on the spot,making the tradition come alive for new generations of listeners.
In Bob Heyer's hands,and in his voice,this timeless music
is reborn and made redemptive.Born and raised in the music-rich Wheeling, West Virginia,area where he is still resident,Bob has devoted his life to the old-time music of his native state,and he brings to it and to his own song
writing a surpassing passion for music and an egoless
service to the song at hand.
This is Bob's third solo album,and excellent as his
earlier efforts were,this album reflects more clearly the
wisdom,grace and wry delight in life that Bob emanates to
those fortunate enough to know him. It also showcases Bob's increasing devotion to the clawhammer banjo style--he's
always looking to expand his horizons--and his ability to
write tunes that stand their own alongside old-time music.
The expanse of Bob's music arises naturally from his person,
for Bob is nothing less than an expansive person: by day
a high school history teacher,Bob is a voracious reader,a
lover of cats and forests and gardens, and above all else,
a gentle soul.
Bob is a gentle soul precisely because he is fearless in his gaze at life's dark moments, and because he has in his own life weathered such dark moments with calmness and faith. A splendid showman, Bob also knows how to lighten things up at just the right time with just the right tune.
Whether contemplative or exuberant, on this CD Bob immerses
himself in these songs with such conviction,grace, and craft
that his performances raise goosebumps, and offer us the great gift of seeing our own lives, in the here and now, in an entirely fresh light.Very simply, music-of any category-
just doesn't get any better than this.
Jeffery Smith, Bozeman, Montana
Reviews of That Lonesome Road
Bob Heyer's new CD, titled That Lonesome Road(TRM 004),
features Bob singing and playing banjo,guitar, and dulcimer
on a mixture of traditional and original material,often
over-dubbing more than one instrument per song."Cherry
River Line" is a highlight from the traditional side of the ledger,while Bob's own "Hard Luck Blues" is a particularly
memorable original song.Bob's banjo playing deserves special mention;he takes pains to credit Dwight Diller as his early inspiration on that "infernal contraption," as he calls it. Goldenseal Winter 2006
Bob Heyer is a West Virginian who sings and plays in a mellow,folksy style.He has established himself on the more folk end of the old time circuit and is also a good songwriter.This project features his old time clawhammer banjo playing that he learned from Dwight Diller.The strongest cut on this project is an original piece played on banjo ("Hard Luck Blues") where Bob gets down and gritty.
Too bad he doesn't do that more often.Bob plays guitar and
dulcimer as well.Bob is not afraid to rework older material and make it his own. He does so with respect for tradition.
There is not a bad cut on the project.On "New Stranger Blues," he is accompanied by Kelly Jones who provides some strong lead guitar, and Matt Hines on bass. Matt's bass can also be heard to a good end on "Fare Thee Well,Oh Honey", a wistful blues. There are solidly played versions of West Virginia songs and tunes interspersed with a few blues numbers. The production quality by David O'Dell is first rate. Bluegrass Unlimited November 2005
Reviews/Quotes from Prior Recordings
Root That Mountain Down(1995)
"an intriguing collectiion of traditional folk songs..For
those possessing a ear for authentic American folk music
Root That Mountain Down is an adventure back in time"
Bluegrass Unlimited September 1996
"Heyer demonstrates here that he loves the whole range of traditional music and he handles it with an impressive command of various styles and techniques on Root That Mountain Down." Goldenseal Winter 1996
" Root That Mountain Down" is a true solo recording.It is
the ideal format to showcase Bob's many talents.
Accompanying himself on guitar and lap dulcimer,Bob highlights tunes that were important signposts in his travels to become a traditional music performer.Bob includes fine renditions of "Shady Grove", the Jimmie Dwiftwood classic "Down In the Arkansas" and a gorgeous rendition of "Make Me Down a Pallet" accompanied beautifully by simple fingerpicked guitar.These examples just scratch the surface of Root That Mountain Down a recording of grace and beauty by a true son of the Mountain State." Sing Out Spring 2003
Close To the Heart(1999)
"Sincere,heartfelt, and well-performed old time ballads and blues by this native performer of Wheeling,WV" County Sales
"This album makes me remember my roots.You've found a home here on The Front Porch. I plan on playing the entire album in the upcoming months. Connie Bowblis WKNH Keene,New Hampshire
"This CD is really a musical gem! Your recording was one of the best surprises for me during the last serveral months."
Jaanus Vainu Bluegrass Radio Tallinn,Estonia
"I do sincerely thank you for the CD of pretty darn fine music." Gerald Pike Sounds of Bluegrass CKCW Moncton,
New Brunswick, Canada
"This is one of those rare recordings in old time music which achieves general accessibility without betraying its roots." High Notes Fall 1999
"You have obviously reached a point in your musical life where you are very comfortable with the music you play.This is a well produced album which I will be pleased to feature on my program." Bruce Cameon Come All Ye Bathhurst,Australia
"Bob is a fine guitar player, and he shows on this CD that he can handle a banjo too. But close to the heart,Bob is a singer,and he adapts his warm baritone to an impressive variety of styles.He obviously understands his own voice and selects music he can handle with ease and grace."
Goldenseal Winter 1999