The Old-Time Herald Volume 8, Number 4

Feature

by Frank Hamilton

The Volo Bogtrotters have been playing together for close to two decades now. Their fun-loving attitude and superb musicianship have gained them well-deserved recognition and respect from the old-time community.

Steve Rosen provides fine vocals and plays banjo, guitar, and fiddle with the Bogtrotters. He figures the band began 16 or 17 years ago. "The founding members were myself, Lynn ‘Chirps’ Smith, and Fred Campeau. The original bass player was Moe Nelson and the original guitar player was Jon Terr."

Rosen continued, "There are conflicting stories about how the band was born but I think Chirp’s spouse, [dancer] Dot [Kent], was influential in forming the band by picking the people that she thought should play together." Dot Kent is the band’s Tune Illustrator. When asked if he thought Dot chose people by their musical rhythm Steve replied, "I think she knew who she liked and liked to hear play together—she’s still like that."

Chirps places the band’s beginnings around 1985. "I believe that Steve was correct in thinking that Dot suggested that we get together. She moved out here after college and started working at the Navy Base and going to dances. Somewhere along the line she met up with Steve Rosen, and at the dances I met up with her."

Chirps takes credit for the name. "As I recall I came up with that name, because there is the Volo Bog near my home. There is also the group the Bogtrotters out of Galax, Virginia that recorded in the ’40s for the Library of Congress. There was also a group named the Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters. We liked the Bogtrotters and with the Volo Bog so close we became the Volo Bogtrotters. It sounded sufficiently odd I guess."    (continued....)

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