Traditional bluegrass music as taught to them by their family and as sung and played by their ancestors.
It is expected of you. To be a member of the Hefner family and play an instrument of some kind as the family has done for many, many years.
There was increased pressure on Richard Hefner II, son of Richard Hefner banjo player for the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys. His band was formed in 1968 and still plays traditional bluegrass music today. Richard had given his son a banjo, showed him a few basic’s and hoped that he would pick up on the instrument that rings out the tunes that have resonated throughout the mountains of West Virginia for many, many years.
Susan Hefner Kershner had expectations of her son David too. Richard and Susan’s maternal grandparents, Frank (who played the fiddle) and Florence (who played the banjo) Irvine were musicians and so were seven of their nine children. The Irvines lived in Marlinton and many residents of the town can remember sitting on their porches on a warm night and listening to the traditional bluegrass and old time tunes flowing from the Irvine’s porch. It was said that the neighbors used to call Frank and Florence Irvine up on the old crank telephone and ask them to play them a tune. David started playing the upright bass at Rick Carpenter’s house. Rick is a member of the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys as well. He along with his dad Harley formed the band together. David had played enough to spark his enthusiasm to play.
Joe “Jody” Harrison III had listened to the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys play all of his life and lived near Richard Hefner. Jody’s dad plays the guitar and they were friends of Richards. So when the band needed a mandolin player they went to Jody. Jody is the mandolin player of the band and he and is dad are also stock car race car owners and drivers.
Doug Scott is the guitar player in the band. Doug plays any type of music that you can throw at him. He has played guitar for many, many years and is related to the Carpenter’s so there is that music in your soul, that love of playing.
The band plays traditional bluegrass tunes. Ones that were done in years gone by like Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Reno and Smiley, Flatt and Scruggs and many, many more.
It is important to the band to carry on the mission of the Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys of playing the traditional tunes only. Many bands play more of a progressive style of bluegrass where the Viney Mountain Bluegrass Boys are sticking to the tried and true traditional tunes as taught to them by Richard Hefner, Rick Carpenter and others.
The name, Viney Mountain Bluegrass Boys comes from Viney Mountain which can see from anywhere in the Little Levels area of Pocahontas County, West Virginia.
It seems to have come full circle – the handing down of the music from one generation to the next. None of the members of the band can read music, it is something that they know, something that they can feel, deep down in their souls. Music that the grew up with. Music that they want to play for others and to continue, as their relatives and friends did to keep traditional bluegrass music alive.
Contact Richard 304-651-2368, David Kershner 304-653-4317, Jody Harrison or Doug Scott or email at
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