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the freight hoppers

The Freight Hoppers

Old-time band Bryson City, NC (Swain County)

The Freight Hoppers have been presenting old-time string band music for more than 20 years. The band started presenting their energetic take on fiddle band music four times a day, seven days a week at the Great Smoky Mountains Railway shortly after forming back in 1992. This afforded the group plenty of paid rehearsal time to hone a sound that has proven entertaining and distinctively theirs. Their repertoire includes music that was first recorded in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, and spans geographically from Mississippi to West Virginia.

The band gained national attention when they were featured on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio in 1996, winning second place in the show’s Talent from Towns Under 2000 contest. They recorded two albums on Rounder Records: Where’d you come from, Where’d you go? (1996) and Waiting on the Gravy Train (1998). Most notably, they were responsible for introducing countless young people to old-time music, and the ranks of old-time musicians grew substantially. The Freight Hoppers’ signature breakneck-speed, close-huddled way of playing became the standard jam-session format among younger musicians throughout the 1990s.

After a five-year hiatus during which fiddler David Bass underwent heart transplant surgery, the Freight Hoppers reformed in 2007, releasing their third album, Mile Marker, in 2010.

The band’s current lineup includes Barry Benjamin (fiddle), Frank Lee (banjo and vocals), Mclean Bissell (guitar and vocals), and Bradley Adams (upright bass).


The Freight Hoppers are available for concert and festival appearances, regionally and nationally.

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