Sugar Run

Sugar Run is a high energy group of talented musicians with the husband and wife team of Mike (banjo, dobro, guitar and vocals) and Bonnie Johnson (bass-fiddle and vocals), along with Rachel Johnson on Fiddle, and Stanley Asbury on the rhythm and flat-pickin’ style guitar and vocals. Our musical repertoire consists primarily of traditional music of the Southern Appalachian region in the style of Bluegrass, Old-Time, older Country music and some originals.

Sugar Run’s performance venues include: shows, dances, private parties and heritage festivals (with period attire and music).

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304-799-4289 and  540-392-4745

Sugar Run on stage at The Bottling Works, Romney, WV

Bonnie Johnson:
Bonnie plays the upright acoustical bass fiddle. Bonnie sings lead on many songs, several of which she wrote herself, including “Cold Mountain Rain”, which appears on our CD “Pounding Out a Tune” on Catawba Records. Bonnie started playing the bass in November of 2006 and has been hard at it ever since. Bonnie is originally from New Hampshire, but relocated to Virginia in the early 90’s. Bonnie’s musical influences include bass players Jim Martin of “Gandydancer”, Mike Smith of the “Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys”, and Meredith McIntosh. Vocal influences include Patty Loveless, Wilma Lee Cooper, Kathy Kallick, and Dolly Parton. Bonnie’s love-affair with old-time music began when she heard Mike, on one of their first dates, play a modal version of “June Apple” on his banjo. Her love of Bluegrass and older country music were sure to follow.

Mike Johnson:
Mike plays the five-string banjo as his main instrument. He also plays the guitar, dobro, and mandolin, and sings lead and/or harmony, depending on the song. Mike began playing the banjo in 1957, when he was 12 years old. Mike’s banjo style is primarily claw-hammer but also includes 3-finger style picking. He plays an older and less common style of clawhammer, similar to the early clawhammer style of Ralph Stanley. Mike favors the bright, ringing, more flamboyant clawhammer styles of past and present performers such as Grandpa Jones, Stringbean, Larry Sigmon, and Leroy Troy. His 3-finger style favors that of the late Ralph Stanley… following the melody and not much in the way of “fancy frills”. In 1960, Mike learned to play guitar in the Carter family style, and a short time later learned to play Merle Travis style finger picking. He plays both styles, depending on the song, on the acoustic guitar. He often plays both styles in the same song. In 2012, Mike began learning to play the dobro and has attended several workshops with the renowned dobroist, Chris Stockwell.

Stanley Asbury:
Stanley plays the guitar as his main instrument. He does bluegrass style flat-pickin’, and sings lead on many songs. Stanley has played the guitar and has sung bluegrass most of his life. He has played with numerous hard-driving bluegrass groups. Stanley is a retired coal miner from McDowell County, West Virginia. His unique style of singing and guitar flat-picking is an essential part of our musical repertoire.

Rachel Johnson:
Rachel plays the fiddle. Rachel lives near Lewisburg, WV. Her fiddle playing encompasses a broad range of fiddle styles. She is equally at ease playing an old-time fiddle tune at break-neck speed, or at a slower speed suitable for square dancing or flat-footing. She can accompany and play fiddle breaks on a hard-driving Bluegrass song in a manner and style that would make the late Paul Warren blush, and she can play a country honky-tonk fiddle that would make you think you stepped through a time-warp back into a 1950’s honky-tonk, listening to a Ray Price song on the juke box.


Check out our new CD: Pounding Out A Tune …featuring the following tracks:

“Angelina Baker”

“Cold Mountain Rain”

“Heading Home”

“Whoopty Liza”

Band photo near Greenville, WV



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