The Rail Splitters are an old time string band with deep roots in the musical traditions of Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Adrian Powell, a native of Crimora, VA, has won contests at fiddler’s conventions all over the Southeast from Hillbilly Days at Pikeville, KY to The Old Time Fiddler’s Convention at Galax, VA. . His fiddle style is straight forward with a hard drivin’ bow and he currently plays with the Pea Ridge Ramblers, Matt Kinman’s Old Time Serenaders, the Cabin Creek Boys, and the Railsplitters.
Julie Shepherd-Powell is an award-winning clawhammer banjo player and flatfoot dancer originally from North Carolina. Julie previously taught beginning and advanced old time banjo at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, VA. She has also played with Letcher County band Rich & the Poor Folks. Julie currently competes in flatfoot dance competitions at fiddlers’ conventions all over the southeast and calls square dances anywhere from Knoxville to New York City. Julie is currently completing her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.
Raised by a coal miner and teacher in Van Lear, Kentucky, Brett Ratliff grew up with a love for the mountains, its people, and its culture. As a youngster, Brett starting singing in church and sang along to recordings of Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams. As a teenager he began playing guitar for bluegrass bands. But when Brett met musical father and son Jamie and Jesse Wells he became hooked on the moving, emotionally charged mountain music of his home. Since then, Brett has learned banjo tunes and ballads from some of the masters of old time music, like knock-down banjo player George Gibson of Knott County or Pike County fiddle and banjo player Paul David Smith. Brett’s solo album, Cold Icy Mountain was released on June Appal Recordings. Brett was music director for WMMT Radio in Whitesburg, KY and currently serves as Program Director for the Hindman Settlement School in Knott County, KY.
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