Mtn Music Trail: Greenbrier Valley’s Most Celebrated Old-Time Musicians

The Hammons Family, the Greenbrier Valley’s most celebrated old-time musicians were recently honored by selection for the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame. Usually, the Hall of Fame honors an individual musician, but this selection honors a multi-generational family of excellent musicians, whose roots in West Virginia go back to pre-Civil War days.

Alan Jabbour, a noted Smithsonian Institution musicologist who introduced the family to s national audience said about them: “The Hammons family of Pocahontas County is a family of traditionalists whose knowledge of music, storytelling, and woods lore have made them cultural guides and mentors since the late 19th century. A century-old account describes patriarch Jesse Hammons and his sons as expert woodsmen, and his son Edden as a talented fiddler. A short story in G. D. McNeill’s 1940 book, The Last Forest, features a character inspired by Edden, and his fiddling was recorded by West Virginia University folklorist Louis Chappell in 1947.

A broader study of the family in the early 1970s focused on Jesse Hammons’s grandchildren, Maggie Hammons Parker, Sherman Hammons, and Burl Hammons.  Here’s Burl on the fiddle:

The study led in 1973 to a Library of Congress double recording and a Rounder Records release. Both contain instrumental tunes, ballads, songs, stories, and lore; both accompanying booklets include early and modern photographs, and the Library of Congress booklet includes a family history constructed from documentary sources and the Hammonses’ own narration.

The family’s instrumental music includes a distinctive regional repertory of fiddle tunes forged on the early Appalachian frontier, as well as a banjo repertory (both picked and down stroked) of later vintage. Their singing tradition ranges from ancient British ballads through hundreds of American ballads and songs. All their music reflects a striking cultural synthesis, combining the artful irregularity and treble tension of the ancient British solo style with other Appalachian elements of Northern European, African-American, and possibly American Indian origin. Their storytelling is equally striking, featuring a distinctive rhetorical style and reflecting a fascination with the mysterious combined with skepticism about supernatural causes. Since the family subsisted on hunting, logging, trapping, and ginseng gathering for nearly two centuries, their woods lore was encyclopedic.” And they were great storytellers as well:

Pocahontas County traditional musician Dwight Diller introduced Burl, Maggie and Sherman Hammons to Jabbour. and played a major role in the documentation of their music. Diller today is one of the best-known performers of the Hammons repertory:

The most popular band grounded in the Hammons Tradition is the Pocahontas County’s Bing Brothers featuring Jake Krack.

The most musically active Hammons today is Trevor, a senior at Pocahontas County High School and a noted fiddle and banjo player. His inspiration was his great-grandfather Lee Hammons, who also lived in Pocahontas County and was distant kin to the more celebrated Hammons clan. Trevor played at the recent ceremony announcing the Hammons Family induction into the Hall of Fame. Here’s a sample of his fiddling:

Traditional music along the Mountain Music Trail this month includes:

At the Purple Fiddle in Thomas:

Friday, May 3: The Brother Brothers

Thursday, May 30: Honeysuckle

At The Pretty Penny Café in Hillsboro:

Friday, May 3: Homer Hunter and Stony Bottom Bluegrass (it’s Homer’s 76th birthday!)

– Gibbs Kinderman, HashtagWV #113. May 2019.

Submit a Comment


Back to the Music w/ Lewisburg City Paper this September!

Back into the Music w/ HashtagWV this September! - It’s back to the music w/ Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper this September. Susanna Robinson features Warner Music School: from humble beginnings to true love and more.  Other big stories include Wild Cuisine at the West Virginia Roadkill Cookoff, Freshwater Folk Festival, an interview with Carlene Carter, Highway Queen by Jason Scott, and so much more! […]

Stay Updated w/ HashtagWV!

Want to stay updated with the paper or thinking about advertising? Sign up today for the latest HASHTAGWV monthly newsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg, WV

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg WV! - Spending a day in Lewisburg? Here are a few of the best things to do while you’re visiting. Start your day at the Wild Bean coffee shop.  Located downtown, this cafe offers premium coffee, tea, veggie cuisine, wi-fi, entertainment, and more! The breakfast menu consisting of breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and granola w/ […]

"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

HashtagWV remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)


Instagram has returned invalid data.

Follow Us!


Wonder How HashtagWV Remains Free?

WONDER HOW HASHTAG LEWISBURG CITY PAPER REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper gets published and distributed FREE every month in-print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of HASHTAGWV comes […]


P.O. Box 744
Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901


"Here at WHEN PIGS FLY BBQ, we get the most return advertising with LBSPY. New customers tell us all the time how they see our ad. They then come see us!" - Mike and Kellen, owners of When Pigs Fly BBQ, Lewisburg, WV.
"Christina, Thank you so much for the cover and the ARTICLE. Your LBSPY is fantastic! We hope to grow this ride and other sports events in our area. Your magazine will do this. Again thank you from everyone in the GVBike club. Come ride with us sometime." - Janice Centa


LBSPY is a free, full color arts and entertainment tabloid dedicated to providing useful information in the areas of Greenbrier County, Pocahontas County, parts of Alleghany County, and more. We distribute 7,000, full color issues every month.


We are engaged in promoting local music, arts, events, dining, and shopping. We reach our audience where they live, eat, shop, drink, play, and fill up their gas tank. BEHIND THE SPY


"LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty, owner @ The Irish Pub