The Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys are among West Virginia’s longest-running bluegrass bands. The group first organized in 1968 around the foursome of Richard Hefner (banjo/tenor vocal), his brother Bill Hefner (guitar/mandolin/baritone vocal), their late uncle Glenn “Dude” Irvine (mandolin) and the late Harley Carpenter (guitar/lead vocal). They took their name from Black Mountain in their native Pocahontas County. For five years the group worked a weekly radio show on WVAR, in Richwood. They also made regular appearances at local events and regional bluegrass festivals. They recorded their first album in January 1971, “Pure Old Bluegrass”, and in the mid-1970s they followed up with a pair of albums: “Million Lonely Days” and “Talk of the County.” More recent albums include “Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys 1968-1973,” “Live at Midnight,” “Live at The Opera House,” and “Live at Greenbrier Valley Theatre.”
As with many bluegrass bands, the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys have had changes in personnel over the years. Richard Hefner remains as the lone original member. Hefner’s traditional bluegrass banjo playing and tenor vocals have contributed both continuity and much of the “high lonesome” sound for which the band has become so well-known. He has displayed his banjo skills many times as a victor in contests and at the Vandalia Festival. Chris Nickell from Monroe County, contributes driving lead and rhythm guitar work as well as lead vocals. Rick Carpenter—son of founding member Harley Carpenter—picks a fine mandolin and sings lead and baritone vocals. Bass player Mike Smith, of Culloden, has worked with such notables as Larry Sparks, Dave Evans, and the Goins Brothers.
Check out this excellent audio story about the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys by our friends at Traveling 219:
Purchase CD’s from the Allegheny Mountain Radio online store:
For more information or to book the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys, contact Richard Hefner
HC 66 Box 303, Renick WV 24966