Whitetop Mountain Band

The Carter Family Fold will present the Whitetop Mountain Band on Saturday.

HILTONS — The Whitetop Mountain Band is ready to bring its family affair full of bluegrass and mountain music back to the Carter Family Fold this weekend.

The Whitetop, Virginia-based band will perform at the Carter Fold on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. — as it has since the historic music venue started hosting shows at the A.P. Carter Grocery building in the 1970s.

The band is a family-based group that originated in the ’40s. According to a press release from the Carter Fold, the band’s shows are “high energy and unlike any other show you have ever seen. There’s everything from fiddle and banjo instrumentals to powerful solos and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honky tonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old- time ballads, originals, four-part mountain gospel songs — and some flatfoot dancing.”

The group has performed throughout the U.S. at concerts, competitions, colleges and festivals such as the Carter Family Festival, the World’s Fair, Floydfest, Merlefest and many others. The group has also toured in England, Wales, Ireland and Australia.

Albert Hash was the well-known fiddler and stringed instrument maker who started the group more than 80 years ago. He worked with Henry Whitter of Grayson and Whitter and also taught Wayne Henderson, Audrey Ham and many others how to make stringed instruments throughout his life.

In the 1970s, Albert’s brother-in-law, Thornton Spencer, and his wife, Emily, joined Hash in the Whitetop Mountain Band. The three also started an old-time music program at Mt. Rogers School, a small K-12 public school in Whitetop, the release said. The students learn fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass and dancing. Emily Spencer has carried on the program, and it has received a lot of regional and national attention for its uniqueness — including Grammy and CMT nominations.

Today the band is carried by the Spencer family and their friends. Emily Spencer is featured on banjo and vocals. Emily’s daughter, Martha Spencer, plays with the band as well. She is a multi- instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, fiddle and bass) and a vocalist and dancer. Martha Spencer was named one of ten up and coming female artists in America recently by Rolling Stone Magazine. Emily Spencer’s son, Kilby Spencer, plays the fiddle, Debbie Bramer plays bass in the band and dances and Ersel Fletcher plays guitar and adds his vocal talent to the group.

The Carter Family Memorial Music Center is a nonprofit organization that features weekly old-time country and folk music at 3449 AP Carter Highway in Hiltons. The venue honors the legendary Carter Family (A.P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter), whose first recordings in the 1927 Bristol Sessions are credited with giving birth to the commercial country music industry.

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Carter Family Fold shows are held on Saturday nights. Doors open at 6 p.m. and music begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $2 for children 6 to 11 and children 6 and under are free. For more information or for a complete show schedule, go to


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