Spencer Branch brings their Appalachian tradition forward, mixing traditional country, old time, and original music. Their beautiful harmonies and steadfast musicianship create a powerful force, sure to captivate.
How We Helped:
Music Maker has partnered with Spencer Branch through it’s Next Generation program, assisting the band with videos and photography, Music Maker will be issuing an album for the group. We are also working on partnering with them to help elder musicians in the Appalachian region of North Carolina and Virginia.
Spencer Branch is the collaboration of siblings Martha and Kilby Spencer from Whitetop Mountain, Virginia along with North Carolina native, Kelley Breiding. Their music, a blend of original and traditional songs, draws from their mountain heritage, as well as traditional country and bluegrass. Their stunning vocal harmonies and rousing fiddle tunes are a powerful combination sure to captivate.
Kilby Spencer is both an award winning fiddle player in old-time and bluegrass styles as well as a sought after guitar player. He has been playing old-time music for most of his life, having learned from his parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, who have been performing in the Whitetop Mountain Band for over 40 years. For many years, Kilby has collected and digitized rare local recordings and serves on the board of the Field Recorder’s Collective, whose mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. Kilby also formed his own award-winning band, The Crooked Road Ramblers, over ten years ago. They have played many prestigious venues such as The National Folk Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival, and Floydfest.
Martha Spencer also grew up on Whitetop Mountain, playing music and dancing from a very young age with the Spencer family. She is a multi-instrumentalist and plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, and mandolin and is additionally well known for her flat foot dancing. She has taken part in master workshops on dance at the National Folk Festival, Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival, the Lowell Folk Festival and has been a featured performer at festivals and workshops across the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Martha studied old time fiddling under her father, Thornton Spencer, through the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities Folklife Apprenticeship Program. She is also dedicated to passing music and dance traditions on to local youth, and teaches at the Junior Appalachian Musician program in the Ashe and Alleghany Counties of NC. Martha currently plays with the Whitetop Mountaineers, Larry Sigmon & Unique Sound of the Mountains, and The Whitetop Mountain Band.
A native of NC, Kelley Breiding is known by many as “the girl with the big voice,” and has led her own traditional country band, Kelley and The Cowboys, for over 8 years. After singing and playing piano throughout her childhood, Kelley became interested in traditional music of Appalachia as a teenager and quickly took to playing the guitar and clawhammer banjo. Today Kelley is recognized as an award winning banjo player specializing in the Round Peak style, which she learned while living in the heart of Round Peak, NC for over a decade and while playing with the old time band Back-Step. A talented singer and multi-instrumentalist, Kelley has done workshops and performed at many festivals with artists such as Dale Watson, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, The Quebe Sisters, Deacon John, and Ralph Stanley.