Celebrate 80 Years of Bluegrass With The Legendary WBT Briarhoppers
Did you know that Charlotte once was the hottest place for country and bluegrass musicians to perform?
In the golden age of radio (1920-1950), the programming on WBT (1110 AM) attracted bands and singer-songwriters from near and far.
The WBT Briarhoppers, a group created to satisfy an advertiser’s request, sat at the centerpiece of this bustling music scene. And 80 years later, the world’s longest continuing bluegrass band features a lineup that was hand-picked and trained by original members.
Today, The Briarhoppers’ lineup includes Tom Warlick, Alana Flowers, Hannah Flowers, Dillon Flowers, Ellie Flowers and Donnie Little.
Singer-songwriter Jim Avett (father of those Avett Brothers) will join The Briarhoppers, along with other special guests. WBT’s John Hancock will serve as the emcee. Legendary WBT show hosts H.A. Thompson and Ty Boyd are scheduled to perform historic commercials.
Warlick, The Briarhoppers leader and the band’s historian, can’t wait to celebrate. “When we perform, sometimes we see people crying, not because we sound bad,” Warlick said. “They tell us that you are taking me back home … to my parents’ living room, sitting around the radio.”
Here’s a clip from the current Briarhoppers:
For those who missed the time when families gathered around a radio for their entertainment, The Legendary Briarhoppers provide a glimpse into the past with music that remains vital today in popular bands such as The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Old Crow Medicine Show and Nickel Creek.
Take five minutes to learn about the eight decades of the The Briarhoppers …
Each member has been schooled in the band’s bluegrass tradition and family-friendly style. “When I die, whether I get hit by a bus tomorrow or it’s 70 years from now, I’m passing on the genetics of a culture and playing music for the common man,” said Warlick.