West Virginia native Ben Townsend grew up amidst Hampshire County’s rich musical heritage. At a young age he learned to play banjo and guitar in the old-time way. Encouraged by such local fiddlers as Paul Roomsburg, Joe Hermann and Israel Welch he has gone on to amass a great catalog of traditional fiddle tunes, banjo pieces and songs. While in college at Shepherd University, Ben used his summers to study banjo from stalwarts such as Riley Baugus and Jimmy Costa at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV. After graduation, again with the help of the Heritage Center’s apprenticeship program, he went on to study the traditional fiddle styles of Central West Virginia and Kentucky from Dave Bing of Roan County, WV and John Harrod of Owen County, Kentucky. Having spent time learning both banjo and fiddle in the styles of both West Virginia and Kentucky, Ben’s knowledge is not quick to run out.
Ben is the coordinator of the October Old Time Music week at the Augusta Heritage Center at Elkins College. Ben plays with The Fox Hunt, a string band from the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. He is also a member of a more traditional string band called the Iron Leg Boys with fiddler Andy Fitzgibbon and guitarist Matt Metz. He also has recorded a CD with Dave Bing called “Tri-State Duets”.
Check out these old-time recordings for more from Ben (and others): https://questionablerecords.bandcamp.com/
Plus “2 Guys Named Ben” old-time music bike trip from West Virginia to California! What fun.
2 Guys Named Ben – Trailer