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Rootstone: BIO

ROOTSTONE JUG BAND - keeping it primitive

Scott Baldwin : Singing, Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica, Jug, Kazoo, etc
Jeff Hofmann : Double Bass
Sam Lunsford : Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, Singing, Harmonica, etc
Paul Thompson : Washboard, Singing
John Thompson, Guitar, Banjo, Singing

2008 arrived, and songster Scott Baldwin found himself at the head of the band. Upright bass ace Hofmann and brilliant multi-instrumentalist Lunsford were still into being in a jug band, so they recruited John and Paul to complete the band.

The band's inaugural performance at to open New Harmonies Roots Music exhibit in Hopewell, Virginia met enthusiastic response from a diverse audience. Three weeks later a crowd of thousands at Roanokeā€™s annual Strawberry Festival was as entertained by the Rootstone Jug Band as they were by the preceding act, who faithfully recreated modern radio hits.

Around a single microphone the group summons rich strains of American roots music. This rich repertoire comes alive. A growing catalog of originals sit comfortably beside unique arrangements and little known obscurities. Roots music is a living tradition in the hands of Rootstone Jug Band.

Rootstone Jug Band has been awarded at 2013-2014 Touring Grant from Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Read on to learn more about the other groups and individuals who make up the Rootstone family.

Meet the Rootstone Jug Band

Scott Baldwin - Guitar, Vocals, other Jug Band implements

Scott started chasing this music in 1998 when he hiked the length of the Appalachian Trail (guitar and harmonica rack in tow) using the trail handle T-Bone Walker. A founding member of New Roanoke Jug Band, Scott now finds himself in front of the band. He presents a wide variety of fingerpicking styles from musical heroes, including Robert Wilkins, Blind Boy Fuller and Mississippi John Hurt (just to name a few).

Jeff Hofmann - Upright Bass

A stalwart on the Roanoke music scene, Jeff is the only member of the group who has personally been introduced to Boss Hog.

Active in a number of groups, Jeff doesn't let his abundant talent and experience keep him from getting primitive with the jug band. His bass playing will knock you out, in a good way.

For more info on Jeff's other pursuits check out: UnisonFoundation.org

Sam Lunsford - Banjo, Harmonica, Washboard, Guitar, Vocals, etc.

Go ahead, hand Sam an instrument, any instrument. Wait a few seconds and he'll be making music on it even if he's never seen it before. Sam joined New Roanoke Jug Band in 2006. He contributed mightily to the band's final release, WHEN MY TIME ON EARTH IS DONE, with great banjo and harmonica work. His harp playing on Burnin' Hell has generated more email than any other track we've done!

Sam is active in a number of other bands, most notably as the leader of The Young Sinclairs

Paul Thompson - Washboard & Vocals

Paul, a native of Bland County, is the newest member of the group. He's a born musician. You can find him behind the drum kit with The Situationist and Mephisto Heat, practicing piano or doing heavy lifting in the recording studio. In the jug band we let him stand up and tuck his drums into his pocket. Scott knew he was a good choice when he helped him move his chicken coop and Paul correctly identified the one young chick that was a rooster.

John Thompson - Guitar, Banjo, Harmony Vocals

A native son of Franklin County, VA, it seems that John was born knowing how to pick a guitar better than most folks can after years of practice. He came to the group in an emergency situation, stepping in to do a big show with three days notice. It went so well that he opted to stick with it. His fine guitar work and singing are an important part of the Rootstone Jug Band sound.

Side Projects!

Rootstone Sheiks - Roots and Blues Trio

Scott Baldwin : Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, etc
Sam Lunsford: Fiddle, Banjo, Guitar, Vocals, etc
John Thompson : Guitar, Banjo, Vocals

Comprised of three principal members of the Rootstone Jug Band, a Rootstone Sheiks performance is a lively foray into a wealth of American Roots Music.

The group's name is a nod to greats such as the Mississippi Sheiks, Alabama Sheiks, and the Beale Street Sheiks, and features material from these groups, and much more.

New Roanoke Jug Band - 2000-2007

New Roanoke Jug Band was founded by Jay Griffin in 2000. Initially the group featured Jim Barnhill on banjo and Scott Baldwin on guitar. Jim left in 2001 and Jay and Scott continued the act as a duo (with Andrew Thomas ocassionally joining on bass) for the next four years. Employing session help from greats like Mac Traynham, Kirk Sutphin, Kinney Rorrer, Russell Harbaugh and Rusty May, NRJB released two acclaimed CDs on Roanoke's "Play It For A Long Time", released in 2003, also contains the complete recorded output of the Roanoke Jug Band from 1929. 2005's "A Pretty Gal's Love" is a collection of love songs which approach the topic from a variety of viewpoints, from amorous to murderous. Jeff Hofmann joined in 2005 and Sam Lunsford joined in 2006. In 2007 NRJB recorded and released The first ever Jug Band Gospel Album,"WHEN MY TIME ON EARTH IS DONE" , their finest work and a fitting epitaph for the group.