The following is taken from the Freighthoppers'
The Freight Hoppers ride again!
When mountain fiddle saws its way into a rugged piece
of old-time, it’s always better if the bow hand cuts deep. Those who had
the pleasure to see the fabled Freight Hoppers perform before the band’s
lay-up will know, for sure, what a sight and sound it is to see a
musician such as David Bass in full unstoppable flight. These guys set a
new bench mark on the circuit. People suddenly understood what the term
‘taking the scene by storm’ really meant.
When the band took a rest, and Mr Bass slowed the pace to
make sure a new ticker was able to beat to his particular rhythm, many wondered
if that hallmark sound would be heard again. Soon, he re-emerged with The Forge
Mountain Diggers, much to the delight of the crowds who turned out to see them.
Meanwhile, tasty banjo man Frank Lee, whose left-of-centre
style was another major asset that led to the Freight Hoppers’ legendary status,
continued to entertain as only he can, and it seemed like we’d all just have to
live with the memories and pray that some day, they might miraculously re-form.
But, good things come to those who wait; a new chapter has
begun and the runaway train is back on the rails.
It was in 2002 that they last performed together. Now, Lee
and Bass have brought in Thomas Bailey on guitar and vocals (a solid sidekick
from The Forge Mountain Diggers) and Isaac Deal (another prized addition) on
With the two original members reunited and joined by Bailey, whose beefy
baritone vocal range enriches the sound, and Deal, whose high lead and tenor
voice adds lightness and color, a stringband has been created to rival the best
that ever kicked up dust.
A new album is already in production and eagerly awaited.
First time around, the Freight Hoppers recorded two critically-acclaimed albums
that climbed into the Top 20 of Billboard’s Americana music charts. Back then,
they were only warming up.