Hell for Certain String Band is an old-time Appalachian string band based in West Virginia’s stunning Greenbrier Valley. The band takes its name from Hell for Certain Branch, a stream within the Monongahela National Forest’s Cranberry Wilderness Area. Many of Hell for Certain’s tunes originated in the Monongahela region, and represent tough times for hard-working folks negotiating the rugged, high-elevation terrain of the mountains.
Hell for Certain blends Dennis Ott’s fiddle playing and Mike Costello’s banjo and vocals with Isak Howell’s steady guitar picking and Corey Bonasso’s thumping bass, for an energetic new approach to traditional mountain music. With sounds ranging from haunting ballads to high-paced dance tunes, the members of Hell for Certain String Band aim to preserve Appalachia’s rich musical traditions, as well as the spectacular landscape from which the band gets much of its inspiration and its name.
“Long ago in early hunting camps or logging camps, people came up with fiddle tunes to pass the time. Mountain people dealt with harsh conditions that influenced the tunes, so you can really hear the struggles in the music. Behind each tune there’s a story to be told, which we enjoy passing on and keeping the history alive.”
-Mike Costello, banjo
LBSpy Magazine, January 2013
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