The Black Twig Pickers pack their bags and hit the road. Other band names they considered: The River Parade Gentlemen, The Lonely Gulch String Band, and The Cider Train Cats.

The Black Twig Pickers pack their bags and hit the road. Other band names they considered: The River Parade Gentlemen, The Lonely Gulch String Band, and The Cider Train Cats.

The Black Twig Pickers play lots of shows just a stone’s throw from my neck of the woods, and even though my aunt plays the banjo, a friend of mine plays the fiddle, and an old high school teacher writes songs about people he met during the year he lived on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I really don’t know this sort of classic folk music as well as I could. I’d like to say I grew up surrounded by it, that my parents played dueling banjos in a bluegrass band and that I’ve been playing harmonica since before I could spell, but really, I spent my childhood listening to The Monkees and The Ramones and wishing I could play electric guitar.

But this isn’t about me, it’s about The Black Twig Pickers — Mike Gangloff, Isak Howell, and Nathan Bowles — a trio who don’t seem terribly interested in the perhaps ubiquitous sounds of psych-punk fuzz or ambient drone. They’re busy studying field recordings and old-time pieces by Appalachian musicians and playing the hell out of not only the guitar, fiddle, and banjo, but also the bones, fiddlesticks, jaw and mouth harps, and washboards. They can shake up a crowd with lightning-fast strumming or hush them with slow, sad blues, but always playing to preserve the tumbledown spark of local music. They like to record on front porches and in woodsheds — often in only one take — and they’ve collaborated with the likes of Charlie Parr and Jack Rose. They’ve put out a handful of albums on VHF, Klang, and The Great Pop Supplement, and in 2010 they released their Thrill Jockey debut, Ironto Special. Later this spring, they’ll release 7-inch of “Yellow Cat” b/w “You’ll Never Miss Your Mama,” and they’re hitting the highway for a slew of shows too — a few in Europe, and lots close to home.

Tourdates:

03.24.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
03.24.12 - Shawsville, VA - Meadowbrook Dance
03.25.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Swoop House Gallery ^
03.30.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
04.06.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Pie Contest & Crooked Dance
04.07.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Blacksburg Square Dance
04.19.12 - Brighton, UK - The Prince Albert
04.20.12 - Antwerp, Belgium - TBA
04.21.12 - Brussels, Belgium - Le Viaduc
04.22.12 - London, UK - The Slaughtered Lamb
04.23.12 - Edinburgh, Scotland - The Banshee Labyringth $
04.24.12 - Newcastle, UK - Morden Tower
04.25.12 - TBA - TBA
04.26.12 - Paris, France - Batofar %
04.28.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
05.11.12 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival
05.12.12 - Birmingham, AL - Secret Stages Festival
05.18.12 - Ripplemead, VA - Giles Fiddlers Convention
05.19.12 - Ripplemead, VA - Giles Fiddlers Convention
05.19.12 - Mount Airy, NC - WPAQ 740 AM Merry-go-round
05.25.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
05.26.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Cellar
06.01.12 - Mount Airy, NC - Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention
06.02.12 - Mount Airy, NC - Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention
06.10.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Beliveau Estate
06.14.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Gillies
06.15.12 - Williamsburg, WV - Badlands Bluegrass Festival
06.16.12 - Newport, VA - Newport Jamboree
07.26.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Gillies
07.27.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
08.03.12 - Clifftop, WV - Appalachian String Band Festival
08.04.12 - Clifftop, WV - Appalachian String Band Festival
08.09.12 - St. Cloud, MN - Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival
08.10.12 - St. Cloud, MN - Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival
09.01.12 - Catawba, VA - Catawba Farm Fest
09.28.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance
09.29.12 - Blacksburg, VA - Blacksburg Farmers Market apple tasting
11.16.12 - Floyd, VA - Floyd Country Store dance

^ Steve Gunn
$ Sir Richard Bishop
% Cath & Phil Tyler, Awesome Tapes From Africa

• Black Twig Pickers: http://www.myspace.com/blacktwigs
• Thrill Jockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com

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