Bucksnort Barndance Band


Lloyd Baldwin, David Forbes, Gail Gillespie, and Dwight Rogers

A Brief History of the Bucksnort Barndance Band

The exact origins of the Bucksnort Barndance Band are a bit complicated. However, we can pinpoint the band's "big bang" to the mid-1970s. Dwight Rogers was living in a Gainesville house known as Possum Trot with several budding old-time musicians. He met Lloyd and Brent Baldwin, brothers living in Melrose, who were similarly smitten by old-time fiddle, banjo and guitar music. Soon afterwards, Dwight and Gail Gillespie got together in late 1974 and then married a year later. Both Dwight and Gail were playing banjo at the time, but after drawing straws, they settled on banjo and fiddle respectively, and joined together with Brent and Lloyd playing for Bicentennial celebrations and square dances in the Gainesville area in 1975 and '76.  Additionally, Mike Kemp called the square dances for the band and would occasionally played fiddle or guitar. The group was first known as the Baldwin Brothers Barndance Orchestra but soon after became the Bucksnort Barndance Band.

Along with Mike Kemp, Dwight DeVane and Everett Whitman also played in the early band. These three recorded a square dance album for Sunny Mountain Records with Gail, Brent, and Dwight Rogers. In late 70s Dave Forbes joined Bucksnort. Dave showed up at a Cross Creek Cloggers practice with his homemade banjo. Weeks later Dave took up the fiddle. Soon afterwards, he and Gail became the primary fiddlers in the late 1970s-1982 period. Lloyd moved to Alabama during this time, and joined in whenever he could. A few months later, during a  band trip to Southwestern Virginia to visit old fiddlers (with five adults and three children all riding in Dwight's pickup truck for 10 days), Inslee Baldwin joined Brent on guitar, giving Bucksnort its trademark twin-guitar drive.  Bucksnort became inextricably linked to the Cross Creek Cloggers and played for numerous performances with them throughout north Florida and southern Georgia during in the late 1970s and well into the '80s. One of the highlights of this period was when Dave and Gail served as fiddle coaches for Rip Torn in the 1982 film Cross Creek. Dave's fiddling can be heard in the film and Dwight and Gail's daughter, Nora, can be seen clogging. Dave, Brent and Inslee later took up the Bucksnort mantle in the fall of 1982 when Dwight and Gail left Florida for a job in southeastern Ohio. Brent gave over the guitar to the able hands of Inslee while he moved to the banjo. The trio recorded a cassette tape during that period and continued to play for the Cross Creek Cloggers, accompanying them on a trip to Russia in 1985.

The band played at numerous festivals and fiddlers conventions all over the South from Florida to Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee. We feel very fortunate have the chance to meet and hear in person the powerful fiddling, banjo playing, and singing of older North Carolina and Virginia musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Earnest East, Albert Hash, Matokie Slaughter, Abe Horton, and Kyle Creed. We also bonded with musicians our own age from all over the US, who were on the same learning path, forming fast friendships that endure today. Because of these experiences, we came to realize there were traditional old-time musicians practically in our own backyards. By the late 1970s, we began to take great joy in learning tunes and songs from Florida and South Georgia musicians, both living and dead, and lovingly weaving them into our repertoire and performances. Among those elders we visited and learned from were South Georgia fiddler Stanley Bailey, and Florida transplants from North Carolina to the Tampa area, Troy and Lucy Lovelace. Old recordings of legendary Florida fiddler Arthur "Cush" Holston were also a huge influence on our music.

Bucksnort was originally used at the 1974 Chilhowie Virginia Fiddlers Convention. Dwight and Gail had formed a pickup band with old pals Buddy and Faith McClure. When the MC asked for the band's name, Buddy blurted out Uncle Buddy's Bucksnort Bucklebusters! On their way to the fiddlers convention, they had spied a sign west of Nashville for the tiny burg called Bucksnort. They nearly drove off the highway laughing. Over the years we've found that just saying Bucksnort always brings a smile.

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