The Linville Ridge Band formed in May of 2002, bringing together a group of tradition-bearing musicians with vast experience. The band includes David Wiseman on mandolin, bass player Mike Ramsey, Jason Johnson on guitar, and Perry Woodie playing banjo. “We try to bring original material and dredge up more obscure traditional songs,” says Mike. The group has been influenced by a number of musicians from the region including the Wiseman family from Avery County, and Burke County’s Shuffler family, which includes bluegrass legends George and John. “We are extremely proud of the musical heritage associated with the part of the country we call home,” says Mike on the band website. “Bluegrass was formed by individuals from this region and we owe a great debt for the foundations they have laid.”
David Wiseman is a sought-after tenor vocalist, mandolin player, and fiddler who performs with Raymond Fairchild. David’s family has been an important part of the traditional mountain music of Avery County and surrounding areas. Family members include Scotty Wiseman, who wrote and recorded “Brown Mountain Lights,” Kent Wiseman, an incredible banjo picker before his life was cut short by a drunk driver, and fiddler Jimmy Wiseman.
Mike Ramsey was born and raised in Morganton where he often sang gospel music in church with his parents and grandparents. Mike started playing banjo in 1981, but he has listened to mountain music since he was a youngster. His father frequently took him to see bluegrass bands such as Flatt and Scruggs, Jim and Jesse, and Bill Monroe. “The musicians [in traditional mountain music], for the most part, are always very approachable, which makes this music very endearing and accessible for the fans. That’s what keeps it real.” Mike started playing bluegrass gospel in the 1980s with Irish Creek and the Narrow Way Quartet, and then spent ten years with Damascus Road playing bass.
Perry Woodie, like other band members, is multi-talented. He sings occasional lead and harmony parts. Most often he plays banjo, and he plays some Dobro.
Jason Johnson plays guitar and sings with the group.
The Linville Ridge Band is available for performances at festivals, concerts, and schools. They have extensive performing experience and like to talk about the history of the music.