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Oldtime stringband Watauga and Avery Counties, NC

The Corklickers have been playing oldtime music in western North Carolina and the surrounding region for thirty years. The group consists of guitar player Mack Vannoy from Boone, North Carolina, fiddler Gil Adams and banjo player Mark Adams from Kingsport, Tennessee, and fiddler Rick Palmer, who has played with the group since the late 1970s and has been a full-time member since the mid-1980s. Clay Buckner, who now plays with the Red Clay Ramblers, was also a founding member.

The group formed in 1976 when the members met each other at music parties and events in western North Carolina. The musicians met in restaurants in Blowing Rock where they performed and passed around a hat for tips. Eventually the group started playing at fiddlers’ conventions. At the Brandywine Festival, they camped next to Lowe Stokes and Bert Laine of the Skillet Lickers with whom they spent the entire festival sharing tunes. They visited Tommy Jarrell and also Red Vance, an oldtime fiddler from eastern Tennessee. They spent time with Albert Hash, and Kyle Creed. “We got to be pretty good friends with Kyle,” says Mack. The group also got to know Ray and Stanley Hicks, Willard Watson and Robert Dotson, all of Watauga County. “We spent a lot of time around Robert,” says Mack.

For about thirty years, these musicians have performed together as the Corklickers. They have played venues that include the Carter Fold, the Chicago Folk Festival, and the Brandywine Music Festival. Regional musicians who have influenced them include: Tommy Jarrell, Charlie Bowman, Uncle Dave Macon, Ernest Stoneman, Riley Puckett, Charlie Poole, Grandpa Jones, and Fiddlin John Carson. They play most of their shows between April and October so that the Adams brothers can work intensive schedules at the Beech Mountain ski resort during the winter.

The Corklickers give a lively stringband presentation full of fiddle tunes, oldtime songs, and humor. Mack says, “I guess our name comes from when people drank all the whiskey then they licked the cork.” The Corklickers recorded a CD—Uncorked—a few years ago, and it has received unanimous favorable reviews.


The Corklickers are available for performances and to play for dances.

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