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The Freight Hoppers

This young band plays an insistent dance rhythm and high-energy style of traditional songs, fast-paced fiddle songs, and mountain clogging (fiddling and dancing at the same time). The Freight Hoppers has won numerous awards, including

First Place Traditional Band at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia, in 1996.
Selected among the top thirty acoustic artists of the "Next Generation" by Acoustic Guitar magazine in 1997.
The band has also won awards at the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention in Virginia and the Maury River Festival in Rockbridge, Virginia.
It was chosen from one of six acts in the Talent Show From Towns Under 2,000 to perform on Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion."

The band consists of fiddler David Bass, who was drawn to the old-time fiddlers of North Carolina by the time he was 18. He won first place in the old-time fiddle contest at the Mt. Airy Fiddlers' Convention in 1997. His dance-style fiddling and his dancing while fiddling make him a sight to be seen and heard.

Frank Lee sings the vocals and plays the claw- hammer banjo. Frank has been performing and recording bluegrass and old-time music for two decades.

Guitarist and vocalist Cary Fridley joined The Freight Hoppers in the summer of 1995.She started playing piano in elementary school and went on to study flute at the University of Richmond, but decided she loved people and playing live music too dearly to spend six hours in a practice room.So she started to perform the fast-paced, old-time tunes with the group.

Jim O’Keefe plays the stand-up bass for the band. He started out studying classical bass in Syracuse, New York, and then quickly found that old-time music was more his style when he saw a Tony Trischka concert. Be sure to check out his bass fiddle.

Show 9902: Songs for this first of two parts include: "Fall On My Knees," "Pole Cat Blues," "I'm Anchored in Love Divine," "Goin' Where the Chilly Winds Don't Blow," "We Shall All Be Reunited," "Cluck Ole Hen," "My Baby Loves Shortnen Bread," and "Run Boys Run." Show 9904: Songs for this second of two parts include: "Tennessee Mountain Fox Chase" (dancin' fiddler), "Trouble All the Time," "God Gave Noah a Rainbow Sign," "Little More Sugar in My Coffee-Oh," "A Rovin' On A Winter's Night" (haunting a cappella solo by Cary), "Jimmy Sutton," and "How Many Biscuits Can You Eat?"



The Freight Hoppers

chosen CBA's emerging artists for 1998

Chosen the California Bluegrass Association's Emerging Artist for 1998.

The Freight Hoppers may be new to you, but they are rapidly making themselves known to a wide audience of old-time music fans. Like freight cars of an east coast train, the members of this talented musical group come from all over the central and eastern United States. The band consists of Frank Lee (banjo), David Bass (fiddle), Jim O'Keefe (acoustic bass) and Cary Fridley (guitar/vocals). Fridley is from Covington, KY; Bass is from Cleveland, OH; O'Keefe is from Norwich, NY and Lee is a native of Atlanta, GA

Lee got this whole thing started in the early 90's when he was playing for the Great Smokey Mountain Railway in Bryson City. He called long time fiddler friend, David Bass, who had been working the subways in NY during the holidays and then the streets of New Orleans for the spring. Lee convinced Bass to come to Bryson City and play at a stop that the excursion train made. So with banjo and fiddle they entertained the disembarking passengers. It so happened that the boss of the Great Smokey Mountain Railway was on the train the day Frank Lee and David Bass started playing together at the depot. He loved them and that's how it all started.

Cary Fridley, who was teaching school in Mocksville, NC, had met Frank Lee at a party at Peggy Seeger's house and when a guitarist/vocalist was needed, she got the call, gave up teaching and joined the group.

This group met Jim O'Keefe at Merlefest and anacoustic bass player became a part of the group. So, The Freight Hoppers had a job in Bryson City from Memorial Day through October playing for the scenic railway. The rest is history. Next came tapes and then CDs and more performances all over the country. In March 1996, The Freight Hoppers performed live on Garrison Keillor's acclaimed radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion," which is aired throughout the country and in Europe by Public Radio International. They performed there because they had entered Keillor's contest of Talent From Towns Under 2000, and was chosen from among 492 entrants. Since then they have been seen in California twice, Michigan, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, New York, Canada and Kentucky. So, at the Walnut Valley Festival this year, make it a point to get acquainted with The Freight Hoppers and some of the coolest music you've ever heard.

Where'd You Come From, Where'd You Go
The Chapel Hillbilly Way
Goin' Down the Track with a Chicken On My Back
Waitin' On The Gravy Train
Video: Live at the Bearsville Barn, VD-HOP-PF 01