Upcoming at the Sweet Shop this month (JULY 21) will be the Lewisburg debut of the fun-loving Poor Taters, a delightful mixture of oldtime, bluegrass, folk, rock and jazz. Having known most of these boys since they were just barely past being edgy little punk teenagers, I have followed their musical careers and supported any endeavor, metamorphosis, shape-shifting, genre-twisting project they tackle. Hailing from mostly Mercer County, the core group was formed in 2007 by JOHN NELSON (mandolin) and KEVIN DALTON (banjo and guitar), former members of Billy Goat Gruff .
And since no band is really right without BOB CAMPION on board, it was just a matter of time before he was smacking the bass along with the other two. BOB had played in many bands, and continues to do so,
including What’s Left, the highly original trio A Noted Author, JC/BC the Sleezstacks, and now Bob Campion and the No Gooders. An amazing guitarist and vocalist, Bob grew up living and breathing music and has always made it a top priority, inhabiting his musical self to the fullest. He has also been active in several Summit Theatre Productions in Bluefield as both actor and musical director. He’ll play just about any gig, no matter how bizarre, and this is one thing that keeps musicianship fresh.
Soon the trio was making its way entertaining the rowdy crowds affiliated with the “rafting curcuit” in the Fayettville area, where they added BILLY FRALEY to play bass and free Campion up to focus more on the guitar playing. With the departure of Dalton, with chips fallen where they may, the band has settled into their groove with their melting pot of styles.
They have also now added another former billy goat , MICHAEL “GOOSE” SIZEMORE and fiddle player extraordinaire STAN BAUMGARDNER, rounding out the sound with added strings and washboard/percussion.
They songlists they choose are diverse. You might hear Beatles songs, contemporary anthems, Rolling Stones covers, heart-breaking high lonesome bluegrass ballads, and then you may hear a cookin’ version of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”. Keeps us guessing. They have been described as Rock and Roll with a banjo, but don’t let that scare you off.
Their delivery is exciting and energetic. They mix originals with classics, and the transition is seamless. In 2008 our fellas took fourth place during the finals of the Neo-Traditional competition at Camp Washington Carver in Clifftop, WV. during the annual Appalachian String Band Festival.
They have two original independently recorded live CDs, available at their shows. You can find them on facebook and this will give you links to downloads, photos, upcoming gigs, and more. They have regular gigs at at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown, The Boulevard Tavern in Charleston, and many venues all around West Virginia. They have many honorary “Taters” including myself, Washboard Dave Thomas, dynamo Jean Hanna Davis, amazing drummer/guitarist Dylan McInturff, and more.
The bands core lineup consists of …
Bob Campion – Guitar, Bass, Banjo and Mandolin
Bill Fraley – Guitar and Bass
John Nelson – Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo, Bass and harmonica
Michael “ Goose” Sizemore – Washboard and implements of percussion
Stan Bumgardner – Fiddle
and many special guests!
Their upcoming gigs include :
Sweet Shop – Lewisburg, WV on July 21
Appalachian String Band Festival – Clifftop, WV July 27 through August 4th
McBee’s Irish Pub – Beckley, WV August 10
Cantrell’s Rafting Company – Fayetteville, WV August 25
The Rivermen – Fayetteville, WV October 13
123 Pleasant Street – Morgantown, WV November 17
This will be a great show, so please support this amazing group. My guys, my boys, my fabulous PoorTaters!
-Susanna Robinson-Kenga. Issue #11
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.