Our band for Spring Breakdown 2020 is Roger & the Nethertones. This dynamic band is packed with award-winning musicians, led by Roger Netherton on fiddle, with Rachel Eddy on guitar, Hunter Walker on banjo and dulcimer, and Kathy Gordon on bass.
Roger Netherton taught himself to play fiddle at age 11, and within a year, he found his musical home in the old-time tradition of Missouri, Illinois, and Appalachia. Now, 12 years later, he is well known for his powerful, energetic style and prize-winning performances at fiddle competitions, notably the prestigious Old Time Fiddle Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, where he won first place in 2016. He plays regularly with a wide variety of bands and accompanists within and beyond his home of St. Louis, and has performed at events such as the Festival of the Rivers (West Virginia), the Big Muddy Festival (Missouri), and the Tajimi Mountain Time Festival (Japan), as well as for countless contra and square dances in cities from Chicago to Louisville. When he’s not performing at a dance hall, restaurant, or festival stage, he’s probably jamming at a local pub, on a neighborhood street, or in someone’s living room.
Rachel Eddy was born and raised in rural WV, where she grew up listening to local fiddlers, her father among them, going to old-time festivals, and attending square dances. Rachel now performs and teaches full-time on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass. She also has four full length albums.
She has recently relocated back to West Virginia after living the last 5 years in Stockholm. During that time, she invigorated the Swedish old-time scene, inspiring dozens of people to learn Appalachian music and dance. Rachel’s love of music comes from the heart and she loves every part of her job from performing, to educating dedicated students, and the electrifying charge of playing in jam sessions around the world!
Over the years, she has had the honor of sharing stages, workshops and recording sessions with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Erynn Marshall, Dirk Powell, Adam Hurt, Rayna Gellert, Russ Barenberg, Bruce Molsky, Mark Schatz, and a month long tour in Germany with the g’earls from Uncle Earl!
Hunter Walker is a native of West Virginia, and is a frequent and in-demand instructor at workshops around the country. Hunter has learned from many traditional players, most especially his uncle Dave Haas. He has performed at prestigious venues such as Theatre West Virginia, the Vandalia Gathering, and Mountain Stage.
While proficient at guitar and mandolin, he is best known for his virtuosity and innovation on the mountain dulcimer and the banjo. His skill on the dulcimer has merited him the title (four times!) West Virginia State Dulcimer Champion, as well as numerous other titles.
Hunter has made one solo recording, Down Yonder.
Kathy Gordon has been playing music since the age of 4 when she first picked out “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” on her family’s piano. She has contra danced for 40 years and has played Old Time music since 1993. In 1994 her husband gave her a bass for their 25th wedding anniversary and she hasn’t looked back. She has been fortunate to play with many fine musicians and currently plays with a range of bands including Howard Marshall and Friends, the 911 Band, the Thursday Irish Session and sometimes sits in with the Joy Boys. She has recorded with Bob Dyer, Cathy Barton and Dave Para, Mike Fraser and Tenley Hansen, and Lee Ruth.
She was very lucky to get to play with Roger while he attended MU in Columbia. She’s really looking forward to playing with the group and says, “They are fabulous musicians and it will be great fun!”
Chet Gray cut his calling teeth in the traditional square revival, and has been bringing that lively attitude to contra dances since 2013. Noted for an ease and an energy that he conveys to the dancers, he strives to call from the dancers’ perspective, and draws on a varied repertoire of dances and styles to breathe life into a program. Chet resides in Louisville, Kentucky. When not dancing or calling, he can be found roasting coffee, playing bass with The New Hoosier Broadcasters, or playing board games. Truth be told, he’s likely to be dancing a little bit while doing those, too.