This popular regional bluegrass band was formed in 1968 in Pocahontas County by Richard Hefner, Bill Hefner, “Dude” Hefner, and the late Harley Carpenter. Now a favorite in the local area, the band currently consists of:
• Richard Hefner on Banjo (Greenbrier & Pocahontas Co.) (Last man standing of the original band)
• Chris Nickell on Guitar (Monroe Co.)
• Mike Smith on Upright Bass (Cabell Co.)
• Rick Carpenter on Mandolin (Pocahontas Co.) (Son of the late Harley Carpenter)
Richard Hefner, who currently resides in Greenbrier County is well known in the bluegrass circuit for his driving banjo and high, lonesome lead and tenor singing. He had the privilege of playing banjo with Bill Monroe at the unveiling of the Uncle Pen Memorial Service in the late 1970s and in his banjo competing days, he was frequent champion in Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.
Chris Nickell grew up round Bluegrass music in Monroe County where he still lives. He learned guitar at an early age and following in the footsteps of his biggest influence, “Tony Rice,” is one of the hottest lead guitar pickers around.
Mike Smith, on bass, also grew up around bluegrass and currently resides in Cabell County. Mike has been in the bluegrass circuit for many years and has performed with Larry Sparks, the Goins Brothers, Dave Evans and others. You won’t hear a better bass player.
Rick Carpenter, mandolin, from Pocahontas County, is the son of the original member, Harley Carpenter, and started playing bass when he was about 8 years old and frequently “helped out” in the band, standing on a wash tub. He’s currently playing mandolin, but also fills in on guitar.
The band has several recordings available on CD, the most recent being “Live at GVT” which was recorded on Feb. 19, 2011 at The Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. Other CDs include “Live at Midnight” recorded Oct. 10, 1000 at the WVMR Radio Station in Frost; “Live at the Opera House” recorded at the Opera House in Marlinton on May 14, 2005; and records of the original band have also been released on CD as the “Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys 1968-1973.”
The band can be heard in various local venues, at Street Fairs, family reunions, weddings and local pubs and coffee shops and local fund-raising events.
For information about the band, contact Richard Hefner at HC 66 Box 303, Renick, WV 24966, and at 304-497-3713.