As I grow older and reflect on my life, the period when I was active in the Washington, DC Bluegrass community brings back cherished memories. In 1975, I organized a band called Appalachian Reign which performed at area night spots and East Coast festivals from 1975 to 1984. A group of famous musicians lived in the area and I was fortunate to have many of them in the band as full-time players or as occasional fill-ins Dick Smith and Chris Warner were committed to touring bands but both of them were available for almost every gig for several months. The original cast of band members was myself as front man, guitar and vocals; Danny Kimball on mandolin and vocals; Dave Goldman on fiddle; Dick Drevo on banjo and Dave Bowen on bass. As most bands go, the personnel changed from time to time but I was fortunate to be able to recruit good musicians to join. Many of them had played and recorded with well-known touring bands. Regular band members over the years were Page Duppstadt on banjo; Nevin Lambert on mandolin; Steve Spence on banjo; Jim Duke on bass; Roger Green on bass; Jim 'Ratso' Silman on bass; Pat Murphy on banjo: Buford Johnson on mandolin; Bill Torbert on mandolin; Stafford Markham on banjo; Porter Church on banjo; Porter's son Kevin Church on banjo; Earl Brown on bass; Lamar Grier on banjo and Joe Meadows on fiddle. Lamar had been a part of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass boys in the mid 1960s. Joe Meadows recorded and toured with The Stanley Brothers, Jim and Jesse, Bill Monroe and Larry Sparks. Buzz Busby was even part of the band for several months. Buzz was a great influence on me when I was a teenager and starting out learning to play music. He had a radio show on WGAY in Silver Spring, MD and a TV show called Hayloft Hoedown on WRC TV in Washington, DC. Buzz contacted me when he learned that I needed a mandolin player and joined the band. What a thrill for me to play music on stage with my musical hero.

There is a long list of musicians that filled in for a show or two or in some cases as regular fill-ins. They include Don Stover on banjo; Bob Spates on fiddle; Carl Nelson on fiddle; Dave Norman on banjo; Vern Bryant on fiddle; Jon Glik on fiddle: Missy Raines on bass: Wayne Lanham on mandolin; Les McIntyre on mandolin; Tom Gray on bass; Smiley Hobbs on fiddle; Benita Murphy on bass; Don Mulkey on bass; Jeff Wiser on fiddle; James Hann on banjo; Emery Lester on mandolin; Fred Geiger on banjo; Akira Otsuka on bass and mandolin; James Bailey on banjo; Doug Ward on bass; Bob Wilkerson on banjo; Ray Griffin on bass; Billy Wheeler on banjo; and Wayne Fairfax on fiddle. On one occasion Dudley Connell of the Johnson Mountain Boys played banjo with us.

Appalachian Reign Remembered






Appalachian Reign Remembered
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Tom Knowles - guitar & vocals
Dave Auldridge - guitar & vocals |
Earl Brown - bass & vocals
Buzz Busby - mandolin & vocals
Sen. Robert Byrd - fiddle & vocals
Porter Church - banjo
Jim Duke - bass
Bill Emerson - vocals
Bob Goff, Jr. - bass
Dave Goldman - fiddle
Lamar Grier - banjo
Ray Griffin - bass
Nevin Lambert - mandolin & vocals
Stafford Markham - banjo & vocals
Joe Meadows - fiddle & vocals
Pat Murphy - banjo
Dave Norman - banjo
Bob Spates - fiddle
Steve Spence - banjo & vocals
Don Stover - banjo & vocals
Bill Torbert - mandolin & vocals


Introduction of Tom Knowles by Buzz Busby
Running Away
The Loving of the Game
Ole Slew Foot
Sugar Foot Rag
She Was a T-Bome Talking Woman
March Around the Throne One Time for Me
You Go to Your Church and I’ll Go to Mine
Reuben’s Train
A Vision of You
I’m on My Way Back to the Old Home
Sally Goodin
Devil’s Little Angel
When Lightning Hit the Outhouse
Sunshine in My Heart
Life’s Elevator
Put Another Log on The Fire
Barefoot Nellie
The Old Coon Dog
Remember Me

I remember so well the Sunday morning when I received a phone call from Joe Meadows. He had recently moved to Washington to work for Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia and was looking for a local band to play with. I immediately hired him and the next several years were amazing. To have a band with such luminaries as Joe Meadows and Lamar Grier was breathtaking. Dave Auldridge joined the band as the tenor singer and we had a wonderful time making music together. A highlight of this period for me was the two times that Don Stover sat in with us at Shakey's Pizza Parlor. He was a wonderful banjo player and entertainer. Another highlight was our music sessions with Senator Byrd. For about one year we went to his office in the U.S. Capitol every Sunday and played music together for several hours.

During the time I was leading the band, I was never completely satisfied with my performance. Quite frankly I thought of myself as just an ordinary barroom musician. Throughout the history of the band, I most always plugged a cassette recorder into the sound system and recorded the shows. I never really listened to these shows until recently and discovered that they were actually, in my opinion, pretty darn good.

This CD is designed to feature many of the different performers that were a part of the band over the years. I've also tried to include material that was unique to Appalachian Reign. Included are two songs that I composed. The audio quality is not up to professional standards, but I believe everything is very listenable. I hope you enjoy these performances and this journey into my musical memories.