Every year over 3,000 people from all over the world converge on Camp Washington Carver in Clifftop, WV to experience the clandestine Appalachian String Band Music Festival , or ‘Clifftop’ as the regulars call it. More than a “festival”, it’s a gathering of ‘Old Time’ family. Folks literally wander camp to camp looking for the next opportunity to play music with a friend, old or new. The highlight of the festival is, in NO way, the competition segment at week’s end…although it is an opportunity to hear some of the world’s greatest instrumentalists. The highlight is getting to sit in the circle with these amazing players! Meeting new people, and playing new tunes…or sharing a gem of your own…That’s Clifftop.
Renowned Canadian Fiddler, Murray Jowett has nomadic disposition, to say the least. Having traveled the world in search of the very experience described above, he eventually stumbled upon the small town in WV that turns into an Old Time ‘Mecca’ every year around the end of July. We met Murray at a gas station on the way to Camp Washington Carver; fiddle in tow, trying to hitch a ride to the festival. When Murray returned the following year, he stopped by Kid in the Background to lay down this gem with Leeroy Greene from Hellbound HonkyTonk. The tune: a little ditty called “Shady Grove” Enjoy!