Making string bands look foxy

Old-time musicians release new album

Old-time musicians release new album

February 12, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - In the age of all things digital, it just seems fitting that The Fox Hunt landed a distribution deal pushing vinyl records.

Because that's how the Appalachian string band of all twentysomethings likes it.

"Old-timey," said Ben Townsend, the band's 25-year-old-fiddler and banjo player.

The Fox Hunt will distribute vinyl records through Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Colonel Records. Their first record with Colonel will be an eponymous seven-incher with their new label buddies, The Weight, classic/Americana rockers from the East Coast. Folks might recognize The Weight - they performed last month with The Fox Hunt at the War Memorial Building in Shepherdstown.

In the meantime, The Fox Hunt plans to celebrate the release of its latest, self-made album - a CD, "America's Working So We Don't Have to" - with a performance/album release party at the Blue Moon Cafe on Valentine's Day.

Even though it's not vinyl, "America's Working" is reflective of the "old-timey" music the guys specialize in, Townsend said.


"We didn't do any over-dubbing or anything," Townsend said. "We just recorded until we got it right."

The Fox Hunt formed in 2005 as an outgrowth of jam sessions of the band's four members. Their music is inspired by fiddle tunes from West Virginia and Kentucky, on top of classic and alt-country. Townsend said the genre has been gaining groundswell among Gen X-ers.

"We're kind of in the beginning of another revival," he said. "There's the Flatiron String Band. A lot of kids are playing this kind of music. There are hubs for it."

The guys have been very busy since their debut album, "Nowhere Bound," was released in 2007. Not only have they pushed through album No. 2, "America's Working," they're currently putting the finishing touches on an untitled album, a project they're doing on their own.

The Fox Hunt was recently taped live in Marion, Va., as part of the "Song of the Mountains Bluegrass Concert and Television Series," a TV program that airs on PBS.

While The Fox Hunt's segment is taped, the season had not been finalized at presstime, said Lynne McCarthy-Jones, communications manager for the parent company of the PBS affiliate that presents the program.

Townsend chatted with The Herald-Mail days after the Marion show, as the guys were en route to Cleveland from Knoxville, Tenn. They'll be back in town Saturday, just in time for the Valentine's Day show.

"We've been basically living out of a van," Townsend said.

The Fox Hunt

Genre - Appalachian string-band music

Location - West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle

Upcoming performance - Album release party Saturday, Feb. 14, at Blue Moon Cafe, 200 E. High St., Shepherdstown, W.Va. Show starts at 7:30 p.m., The Fox Hunt goes on at 9. $5 cover.

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