The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 8

The Drunken Catfish Ramblers: A New Generation of Travelers
By Malcolm Smith
Photo by Michael Ford

R oy Pilgrim and his friends couldn’t sit still. But who could blame them? He and his bandmates in the Drunken Catfish Ramblers had just won the non-traditional band contest at the 2012 Appalachian String Band Festival at Clifftop, West Virginia. I was perched with them on a hill overlooking the sea of music that makes up the campground at the festival.

It had been, literally, a long road for Pilgrim, Greg Sherman, Bob Ayo, and Aaron Gunn—who at the time were the four members of the ever-changing Catfish Ramblers—to get to Clifftop. For more than three years these young men had been following the great American tradition of hoboing and “trampism”: riding rails, playing music wherever they could without being arrested, and busking from Bourbon Street in New Orleans to the New York City subway.


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