Jul 4, 2012 06:25 AM WV Sound
Keeping a beat in the Mountain State
Good Old-Time with The Iron Leg Boys
Loving the tradition of old-time music, The Iron Leg Boys grew up inspired by Appalachian fiddlers and began to play that style of music on their own.
But the group from the eastern panhandle of West Virginia has also tried another style of music—funk—which didn’t exactly work out. “Sticking to what we knew, we decided to name the band after a funk song instead,” says Ben Townsend of The Iron Leg Boys. The name comes from a Mickey and the Soul Generation song, “The Iron Leg.”
Reverting back to their first love three years ago, The Iron Leg Boys bring you Matt Metz on guitar, Ben Townsend on banjo, and Andy Fitzgibbon on fiddle. Ben got his start with old-time from a Hampshire County man named Paul Roomsburg, who would have jam sessions in his cabin. “He and a few others really gave me an introduction, and after they lit the flame there wasn't much of anything that could put it out.”
Ben met Matt at what was then Shepherd College. Andy traveled down south from New York as a kid to work with Bob Smakula and study with master fiddlers. Ben and Andy met at the Augusta Festival in Elkins, and the three have played together for past seven years in different bands.
This instrumental band says it isn’t in the business for the long haul, but rather for the love of playing music as friends. “None of us is really trying to support ourselves with this band,” says Ben. “This one is just for the love of music.” Matt teaches, Andy repairs instruments, and Ben records and produces for other bands. The trio is inspired by some of their favorite fiddlers, like French Carpenter, Thomas Dillon, and Melvin Wine.
Though the band doesn’t plan to hit the big time, the group knows how to have fun and does just that at square dances and festivals across the state. The Iron Leg Boy’s first album, Natchee on the Hill, was produced from source recordings of fiddlers playing solo fiddle tunes previously unrecorded and adapted to a three-piece fiddle, guitar, and banjo band.
You can check out Natchee on the Hill at questionablerecords.bandcamp.com/.